The collected stories thus far show a history of issues. What will it take to make sure everyone has a positive experience? This is the list we've developed after weeks of discussion spanning over a hundred messages and hours of Zoom meetings. While not exhaustive, it's indicative of key elements for a clear path forward.
1. Estabilish documentation and benchmarks clearly outlining:
a. outreach initiatives to all students
b. specific outreach to African-American, Latino, Indigenous populations and any other minority populations that are statistically under represented as licensed professionals in the United States as compared to established professional benchmarking (NCARB by the numbers, etc.).
c. grade, project, contact and interaction details for all students
d. admission, drop-out, dismissal, advancement and graduation details for all students
2. Establish publishing of anonymized versions of the benchmarks so there is clear data to document progress or the lack thereof
3. Diversify core-curriculum (sporadic non western based classes have been taught, we’d like the curriculum as a whole to speak to the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of Andrews University School of Architecture students)
a. teach and embrace non-Western architecture beyond Egypt
b. include Indigenous, African, Asian and other regional examples throughout history
c. use architecture and design as a solution towards tackling the effects of communities designed with racially-biased intent starting with communities within your local context
4. Hire Diverse Faculty
a. hire diverse qualified faculty that’s a representation of the student body
b. include minority professors throughout the design process, including desk crits, lectures, and final review. Utilize technology to broaden the reach of the program to include professors in diverse locations.
5. Clearly speak out against anti-minority issues related to the profession and culture in general. Examples: Unchecked police brutality especially against Blacks; verbal and physical abuse against Asians over COVID19 issues; DACA, etc.
6. Apologize for overt and covert suppression of minority student voices; seeking no recurrence of past acts
a. establish disciplinary measures against faculty members that openly oppose anti-racism within and without the school
b. establish policies that eliminate discrimination because of religious belief systems
7. Establish full and continuous support for organizations that support diversity such as NOMA, AICAE, AAa/e, Arquitectos, LiA
a. at minimum provide the same support that the AIAS has been accorded in the past
b. seek new partnerships as a way of helping both students and the communities they are being taught to serve
c. work on making Andrews alumni part of this continuous support
8. Work with the office of diversity and inclusion to develop and maintain a continuous diversity, equity, inclusion and empowerment framework
a. this is for all faculty and staff
b. this is also for all students so they can learn to be intentionally effective dealing with issues in their designs in their community and in their general practice
The current student body, concerned alumni, parents of past and future students, existing AEC professionals and others have all signed this digital document. They all request that the Andrews University School of Architecture & Interior Design develop a purposeful Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Empowerment (DEI&E) Commission to address the issues detailed herein with the following timetable.
1. acknowledgement of receipt of these demands within 10 days of their submission
2. an unambiguous response within 30 days of their submission
3. formation of the Commission within 90 days
4. the goal of publishing a broad, public, statement of intent no later than December 15th, 2020.
5. the goal of publishing a ways and means report no later than March 31st, 2021.
The Commission membership should be comprised of the following:
· the chair of the school, Ariel Solis
· an additional faculty member that already sees value in the endeavor
· an additional faculty member chosen by the incoming class
· a member of the incoming class
. a member of the 4th or 5th year class, chosen by students
· one or more alumni from the 2000 – 2020 class range, chosen by the alumni
· one or more alumni from the 1999 or prior class range, chosen by the alumni
· a representative from the office of the VP of Diversity
For the purpose of voting and resolutions, the total number should remain odd. For the purpose of transparency all votes, resolutions, declarations and recommendations from the group should be completely documented and made freely and publicly available.
We appreciate your time for considering this information, we look forward to hearing back from you in the timeline suggested above. You can respond to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to continuing this very important dialogue and helping Andrews reach its vision. Because of the mission and vision of the School of Architecture and Interior Design, students, parents, and alumni want to see this school as a leader in this endeavor. Beyond that, we desire communication and transparency as we work toward an academic experience designed for all.