In light of the pandemic and the renewed media interest in the continued killing of unarmed Black men and women, we are deeply saddened and disappointed by the school’s continued silence particularly due to the adverse effect that these issues have on Black students' well being and mental health. We are also deeply concerned about the school's continued covert suppression of minority students’ voices.
This statement bears witness to a profound lack of vision, awareness, and imagination from the dean, chair, and faculty of the School of Architecture. Despite the fact that the schools' current motto is 'world changers for a changing world’ the leadership has continually disregarded the needs and requests of students and alumni. As far back as the 1980s, urgent calls for change from Black and minority students have been ignored. Such continuous, deliberate and willful ignorance is indicative that the common ills of white supremacy remain a part of not just this countries DNA but the school's as well.
Ironically, the school's vision is "to prepare diverse students for a life of creative stewardship and professional service, with a heart for ministering to others." It sounds perfect but the school has been at the forefront of opposing the existence of the office of diversity and inclusion at Andrews University, calling it a “worldly thing”. The School of Architecture's rhetoric and activities reveal the degree to which the school is steeped in protocols of obstruction, and resistance to change.
While Andrews University as a whole has made some strides in addressing it's known inequities the School of Architecture often reflects conscious anti-Blackness and a clear lack of commitment to nurturing an environment that embraces diverse thinking.
The news is replete with corporations, brands, institutions and individuals sharing stories and coming to terms with the blatant current events. The Andrews University community has been involved with similar conversations, even those in the smaller community of architects and designers.
Learning of similar experiences from current students, instances where they’ve felt like their voices (and lives) didn't matter while fearing being reprimanded if they speak up about their discomfort, has been heart wrenching.
We've collectively begun to compile the stories and discussions and are sharing them here to make Andrews University and the world know that the pandemic of racism needs to be eradicated even in Berrien Springs, Michigan.