Tonight we write to you with heavy hearts. Recent events have again shone a bright light on the historical, systemic inequalities that exist in our society. We are outraged and saddened by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and stand in solidarity with all those protesting the pervasive racism that has given rise to these incidents and countless others.
Last week President Schlissel shared his resolute message to our community, and Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers offered his own very powerful and personal response. We found both messages comforting and galvanizing.
Tonight, we write to affirm SMTD’s commitment to supporting communities of color. We will not tolerate racism, violence, bigotry, and aggression in our midst, and we are committed to celebrating your voice and experience as essential and integral to our future together. We stand with you and for you.
SMTD is committed to the ideal of inclusion as one of its core academic and artistic pillars. We construe inclusivity in the broadest possible terms, encompassing the equitable and fair treatment of all members of our community as well as a commitment to diversity not only with respect to traditional markers such as race, ethnicity, and gender but also to diversity of thought, experience, and outlook upon the world.
We fully embrace the notion that academic and artistic excellence is inseparable from an abiding and pervasive institutional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As such, SMTD recently launched the DEI Student Advisory Board and DEI Faculty and Staff Action Teams who will continue to focus their efforts on ways to foster an inclusive climate where all in the SMTD community can thrive.
During this difficult time, we urge anyone who needs support to access our university’s resources. Students can receive support through CAPS, the university’s counseling and psychological services.
As members of an academic community we are bound together by our belief in the power of learning and growth through exploration, creation and discovery. Those of us in SMTD have the special privilege of exploring the human experience through the performing arts. We encourage all of you to be generous with your gifts, and think about your work in the context of what is happening in the world, and what its role might be in affecting change. And we commit to supporting you in that work.
David Gier, Dean
Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music
Julio Cardona, PhD
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Human Resources, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion