June 25, 2020
To the MICA Community,
We are writing as individuals, as members of this community, and as campus leaders.
Over the past several weeks, many of you have asserted your expectations of MICA and called the College out on long-lasting racial biases, the inadequate institutional delivery of the more recent Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Globalization (DEIG) agenda, as well as our Title IX commitments. Through forum comments, formally delivered documents from leadership groups, emails, social media posts, and other vehicles, you have raised your collective voices and challenged the College on transparency, follow-through in evaluation and investigative processes, and accountability.
We hear your voices through your accounts of pain and loss. We apologize and we acknowledge our accountability to you as leaders to bring about meaningful institutional change.
While MICA was one of the first arts institutions to apologize for our racist past, we have not fully reckoned with it, nor have we moved fast enough to fundamentally reimagine our curriculum, pedagogy, and operations in ways that accomplish necessary structural transformations. We are committed to accelerate our efforts to be a welcoming environment for all our members. We must fulfill our educational promise to provide DEIG-rich teaching and learning, as well as safe spaces for exchange and creative expression.
We are thankful for the many specific recommendations for immediate and long-term actions that have come forth as well as the lived experiences you have shared—and we deeply appreciate the bravery displayed in raising these concerns. We are listening and learning, looking closely at the feedback and suggestions we have received—including the SVA Open Letter for DEIG.
We will be back to this community in the first part of July with comprehensive, concrete steps MICA will begin to move forward promptly. This response will be guided by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) perspectives. We have also engaged in an immediate audit of all of our Title IX processes and procedures.
While these actions are still being developed to make MICA stronger, they will include but not be limited to:
- Actions toward empowering BIPOC guidance in institutional change, as well as building BIPOC leadership on campus;
- Actions toward creating safe and transparent methods for students and others to register complaints and a clear process to ensure accountable follow-up;
- Actions toward strengthening Human Resources, especially in its complaint and investigation capacity, as well as due process protections;
- Actions toward mandated anti-racism training for all faculty and staff;
- Actions toward near-term (currently happening) and long-term curricular change;
- Actions toward near-term and long-term faculty professional development and accountability;
- Actions toward enhanced accountability for the College and College leadership
Both MICA and the world are at an inflection point of fundamental social and cultural change. We are all stretched and stressed in different ways, and this moment has revealed the deep fissures and weaknesses in our society and our institutions. It is a moment that calls for us to confront openly, decisively, and bravely our systemic issues with racism—especially anti-Black racism and the impact on our BIPOC members—gender inequalities, and social and economic injustice. The confrontation must drive structural, transformative, and permanent change in accordance with MICA’s Mission, Vision, and strategic goals. This change must not wait.
Our way forward involves a resolute institutional will for change and a clear commitment to substantive action that is equal parts heart, mind, and muscle. Along with the necessary organizational work of system, policy, curricular, and accountability reform, there will be an emphasis on the people-centric generative work of community care, harm reduction, trust restoration, and power and resource sharing.
MICA’s transformation requires our community coming together to usher in a new era of justice, equity, and inclusion that is built on hope, empathy, mutual support, and growth, and—for us as an art school—creativity and education.
We pledge our commitment to transformative change at MICA,
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost