This message was sent on Friday, June 12, 2020.
To Our Community,
Over the past two weeks we have listened carefully to many of you about the importance of actions behind our statements regarding how we plan to address systemic racism, including and especially against the Black community broadly and on our own campus.
We acknowledge that the College’s racist history continues to inform its present. We must continue to create a sustainable path forward that includes specific commitments. We understand that some in the community experience the time it takes to chart this path as reflective of a lack of caring, and we understand the need and desire for faster action and transformation.
We are writing to share actions to amplify support for our Black students, educate our College community about race and oppression, and invest in antiracist work in our local community. You will notice that some of these action steps include an outline and an initial commitment of institutional resources. We look forward to community input from all schools and programs to help us shape their successful implementation. The input of students, faculty, and staff is critical.
Funding for Enid Cook ’31 Center (ECC): Over the past several years we have developed and staffed the position of ECC advisor to better support events and programming and to provide mentoring and support to our students. To further support the mission of the ECC, we will increase the budget for ECC programming and events to be administered by ECC student leadership in collaboration with Joi Dallas, the ECC advisor.
Funding for the Africana Studies Program: For more than three decades, we have had an outstanding Africana Studies program led by our talented faculty from across many areas of the College. To continue to build our curricular and co-curricular programming and offerings from this program, we will increase funding to this program to be directed by Chanelle Wilson, Program Director and Assistant Professor of Education.
Racial Justice Impact Fund: We have also heard a desire for Bryn Mawr to look beyond our campus to have an impact on our larger world and in our surrounding communities. To this end, we are creating a Racial Justice Impact Fund to provide fellowships and grants for undergraduate, graduate, and postbaccalaureate students, faculty, and staff to pursue antiracist community engagement, service to organizations, and research that creates an impact beyond Bryn Mawr’s campus. This summer we will host opportunities for members of the College community to help us to shape the use of this fund.
These new actions will build upon the ongoing work of many in our community. We have been addressing institutional and structural bias through our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Framework, renewed each year, which includes initiatives across the institution, including recruiting faculty of color and addressing the College’s racist history. These yearly plans and reports have been shaped with input from staff, students, and faculty and consultation with outside experts. On our website you will find the Diversity Leadership Group’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report for AY ’20. Previous reports are also online.
We must continue to push forward. We continue to invite community input into the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Framework Plan for AY ’21 that will build and amplify this work. We will be providing forums in July for community discussion and planning.
The burden of progress cannot fall on our Black students, alumnae/i, and community members nor on our community members of color more broadly. Each of us must support a culture of antiracism and belonging. We want to share a few examples of recent efforts to engage the full community in this critical work.
- The Career & Civic Engagement Center and the Pensby Center have gathered resources for antiracist learning and for those who want to actively engage in community advocacy and engagement.
- A collective of white staff and faculty are organizing a group to raise awareness of and address white privilege in their lives.
- The Pensby Center, together with other departments, will support multiple groups of faculty, staff, and students in extended studies of white privilege.
- The AY ’21 Community Day of Learning’s theme will center on racism and antiracist work.
We thank all those who have joined to move the institution forward through their passion, commitment, and hard work. We look forward to these next steps as we move more deeply into focusing our energies, harnessing our talents, and investing our resources into the critical work of addressing racism and structural inequity at Bryn Mawr and in society. We hope we can come together as a community to bring reflection, creativity, action, and a willingness to risk as we work together to make Bryn Mawr College into the place of true belonging to which we aspire.
Kimberly W. Cassidy, President
Sharon Burgmayer, Dean of Graduate Studies and the W. Alton Jones Professor of Chemistry
Kari A. Fazio, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Administrative Officer
Jesse Gale, Chief Communications Officer
Cheryl Lynn Horsey, Chief Enrollment Officer
Ruth H. Lindeborg, Chief of Staff and Secretary of the College
Bob Miller, Chief Alumnae/i Relations and Development Officer
Mary J. Osirim, Provost and Professor of Sociology
Janet Shapiro, Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Professor of Social Work, Director of the Center for Child and Family Wellbeing
Gina Siesing, Chief Information Officer and Constance A. Jones Director of Libraries
Jennifer L. Walters, Dean of the Undergraduate College