June 16, 2020
Dear CMC Community:
In response to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the persistent patterns of anti-Black racism it drove home, I write to express both my strongest personal support and the institution’s fullest commitment to our Black students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees. This extends to all Black Americans and all who are committed to the full and equal promise of our nation’s constitutional freedoms.
I want to thank all of you for your insightful contributions, forceful statements, and effective dialogue and the College leadership for their partnership in CMC’s educational response to this historic time.
This is a humbling, self-critical learning moment for me and for many of us. We reflect on our progress and see the gaps between our commitments and the realities faced by Black Americans within our own institution and the society more broadly.
We must all affirm that Black lives matter. Not only in our speech but also in what we do. We can’t rely solely on those who bear the burdens of racism. We can’t return casually to the old educational playbook of more endless studies, ineffective programs, and unmeasurable goals.
Most of all, we must develop a fresh vision, strategy, action plan, and accountable measures for how best to reinforce our values in action: through our behavior, our relationships, our community, our country. This means reimagining a new destination and charting the roadmap for getting there, together.
This is a moment for leadership to give greater resolve and focus to our collective efforts.
With this in mind, I’d like to introduce you to a new Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America for the 2020-2021 academic year (the Initiative). By the conclusion of next year, the Initiative will develop a long-term, structural, integrated educational response to racism, inequality, and inequity.
I have charged Matthew Bibbens, Vice President for Administration and Planning, General Counsel, and Secretary of the College, Nyree Gray, Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Civil Rights Officer, Dianna Graves, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students, and Professor Shana Levin, Associate Dean of the Faculty to lead the first phase of the Initiative this summer. They will seek your thoughts and suggestions to a number of action steps that we plan to develop over the course of this summer and the fall and spring semesters. They will also report back on our progress by the beginning of the academic year in early September.
Before you review the early details, I want to emphasize four key commitments that will drive our priorities.
This is a shared responsibility within our College community—embedded and pervasive, personal, professional, collective. We learn best when we own it.
This is a learning experience, not just something to be studied, but a set of skills, fluencies, capabilities we commit to support and develop in each member of our community. We learn by doing.
This is a fully integral educational response, not a separate department or center. We achieve change when our interventions are pervasively integrated in the full institutional structure. This is about outcomes, not just studies, plans, and investments. We commit to developing a dashboard capable of accounting for our measured success or failure in efforts to eliminate racism. What’s measured gets done.
In the CMC way, let’s take on this challenge. Not just to study racism, but to find effective ways to end it.
That is how we seize this defining moment in our history.
President Hiram E. Chodosh