In Support of Black Lives Matter: Action Steps for the Middlebury Community

By COMMITTEE ON DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

We recognize that the trauma of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and too many others is felt deeply by all — and disproportionately by Black students, faculty and staff in our community.

  • We state unequivocally: BLACK LIVES MATTER.
  • The College and our community must commit, with actionable steps, to anti-racist work in our classrooms and campus community spaces, as well as in our personal lives and communities. 
  • We support the action steps laid out in this letter from students. Please read this letter in full, and sign here to endorse their call to action. We will be following up with the coalition of student leaders who put this letter and petition together to see what progress is being made on these requests. 
  • We explicitly ask the administration to lay out plans for mandatory anti-racist faculty education at the institutional level and an outline for ongoing institution action steps and accountability. 
  • As the faculty Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), we are tasked with being the platform for faculty engagement and governance on issues pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusivity. We must also be held accountable for our actions. 
    • We will continue to amplify and share the voices and concerns of faculty of color, and, especially in this moment, Black faculty. We look forward to sharing what we have learned in interviews with a number of underrepresented faculty on campus with the broader faculty and, more specifically, setting up meetings with departments and programs to strategize and implement DEI practices based on our findings.
    • We continue our work within faculty governance structures to support changes to foster campus environments which are anti-racist, supportive and equitable to all of our community members. Actions this year include: 1) advocating for and implementing the recognition of teaching accomplishments addressing diversity and inclusivity in our annual faculty salary forms; 2) continued work on addressing bias in course response forms; 3) engaging in high-level conversations about hiring, budget, academic planning and other aspects of faculty governance; 4) responding to campus issues related to DEI work, including: On engaging with Charles Murray, Making Opt-in More Equitable and Facing the COVID Crisis
    • We will continue to address the racist structural and cultural barriers that severely limit our ability to recruit and retain Black faculty and staff, as well as other faculty and staff of color.
  • Anti-racist action can take several forms. Self-educating, having challenging conversations with friends and family, chipping in financially (as we are able) to organizations who are doing this work and more. A few additional resources:

There is clearly more work to be done. Silence and inaction in a moment such as this cannot be an option. However, in our eagerness to support and make our concerns known, we must not fall into problematic tropes or utilize painful metaphors that cause Black and other community members to relive past trauma. We will continue to push one another to consider our words and actions for their impact and not merely their intent. Part of accountability is truly apologizing when we make mistakes and outlining how we will do better.

While the recent deaths and protests impact us all, we especially encourage White and non-Black Middlebury members to take time each day to reflect — and then act — on what you can do to hold yourself and others accountable for taking discrete anti-racist steps. To our Black community members, we see you, we are here to listen if you want to share and our work continues. BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

Sincerely,

Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Summer Membership, alphabetical:

Tara L. Affolter, Education Studies Program

Erin Eggleston, Biology

Kemi Fuentes-George, Political Science

Laurel Jenkins, Dance

David Miranda Hardy, Film and Media Culture

William Nash, American Studies

Shawna Shapiro, Writing & Rhetoric, Linguistics 

Editor’s note: The above faculty members comprise the entirety of the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Learn more here.