Opinion letters to the editor

Addressing recommendations for inclusivity

Since December, we have had the exciting opportunity to work together in a historic collaboration of students and senior administration to consider the recommendations for a healthier and more inclusive MIT community that were made last fall to Academic Council by the Black Students’ Union (BSU) and Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA). Working closely with dozens of other students, deans, department heads, faculty, staff, and alumni, we have made good progress on critically important issues for our community. Throughout this period, we have been listening carefully to many groups as they articulate opportunities for change.

We were pleased to report on our progress at Friday’s Diversity Forum in a “town hall” event that answered questions and engaged in conversation about next steps. Our work with the BSU and BGSA recommendations are summarized in a table that describes our progress, and it is available online at the diversity.mit.edu/activities website. Recent MIT News Office articles also describe our actions to date, including the appointment of JJ Jackson as MIT’s diversity and inclusion officer and a key member of our implementation team. Rasheed Auguste, one of our members, has an essay elsewhere in today’s issue of The Tech on his experiences surrounding the creation and consideration of the recommendations.

Our working group’s focus is now expanding to the many recommendations that we are receiving from other ethnic, religious, gender and sexual orientation, and physical abilities groups. These recommendations come from across our community, including from our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. As our work continues in the months to come, we hope to hear from all members and groups who wish to contribute to this important work. And we will report again on our progress when our full community reconvenes in the fall.

Rasheed Auguste, Class of 2017

Cynthia Barnhart, Chancellor

Ed Bertschinger, Institute Community and Equity Officer

Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries

Mark DiVincenzo, Vice President and General Counsel

Lorraine Goffe-Rush, Vice President for Human Resources

Alberto Hernandez, Class of 2017

Kirk Kolenbrander, Vice President

Melissa Nobles, Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Christopher David Smith, Graduate student

Ellen Rice Staten, Graduate student