Dartmouth: Black Lives Matter, and Racial Injustice Must End

News subtitle

Senior leadership to community: To bring about change, “we must act as well as speak.”

Protestors gather on the Dartmouth Green
Dartmouth community members protest in support of Black Lives Matter. (Photo by Robert Gill)

As part of the growing effort to end systemic racism and oppression of Black people and to support the Black Lives Matter movement, Dartmouth’s senior leadership and members of its board of trustees have announced a series of measures designed to bring about meaningful and long-lasting change at Dartmouth and beyond.

In a statement emailed today to all faculty, students, and staff, the group said that “outrage, and even inspiration, will not be enough. If we want to see change in the nation, and at Dartmouth, we must act as well as speak. We know there are no easy solutions to eradicate the oppression and racism Black and other students, faculty and staff of color experience on our campus and all across our country. Today we rededicate ourselves toward this urgent and overdue goal.”

Their plans include elevating the next leader of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity to the level of vice president and chief diversity officer; the new IDE leader will report to President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 and will be a member of his senior leadership group. The plans also include making implicit bias training mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff. Trustees will also participate in the training.

“We want to express our strong support for the growing movement across the nation to put an end to systemic and systematic racism demonstrated so tragically by the recent killings of Black people at the hands of the police. We are outraged by these acts of violence, and we are inspired by the diversity of races, backgrounds, and the full spectrum of generations engaged in protesting in cities and towns across this land. We join with them to say that Black Lives Matter, and that racial injustice must end,” the email said.

It was signed by Hanlon, trustees, and the president’s senior leadership group.

(Read the email here.)

In addition to Hanlon, the senior leadership group’s members are Joseph Helble, provost; Alexis Abramson, dean of Thayer School of Engineering; Justin Anderson, vice president for communications; Duane Compton, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine; Laura Hercod, chief of staff in the office of the president and secretary to the board of trustees; Sandhya Iyer, general counsel; Jon Kull ’88, dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies; Bob Lasher ’88, senior vice president for advancement; Kathryn Lively, dean of the College; Rick Mills, executive vice president; Alice Ruth, chief investment officer; Harry Sheehy, director of athletics and recreation; Matthew Slaughter, dean of the Tuck School of Business; and Elizabeth Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

“These commitments are just a start, and we expect to be held accountable for the actions to which we are committing ourselves. We know that there is more to be done to make our community, and the larger society, a civil and just place. We should not expect our colleagues of color—who for too long have shouldered the hard work—to lead this alone. We expect our entire community to join us in the vital work that lies ahead.”

The group’s plans also include Inclusive Excellence initiatives such as increased funding for Employee Resource Networks and affinity groups of faculty and staff families; providing greater access to therapists of color; holding comprehensive exit interviews with departing faculty and staff of color to identify common themes; and beginning an enhanced retention plan to provide support and timely identification of issues.

In addition, the group pledges to review and update as necessary training and policies for Dartmouth’s Department of Safety and Security to ensure empathetic, equitable, and just standard operating procedures, and to review existing reports relevant to Dartmouth’s commitment to improving diversity and inclusivity and acting on the insights and contributions of previous working groups and task forces.

“We believe deeply in the centrality of our mission in the context of today’s struggle. We are committed to educating the most promising students and preparing them for a lifetime of learning and responsible leadership. And in so doing we will take advantage of our strong liberal arts core and the unique constellation of graduate and professional schools to develop leaders who are committed to addressing the world’s challenges, including the creation of more just and civil societies.

”We strongly support the ongoing faculty-led efforts to expand curricular offerings at all of Dartmouth’s schools in the areas of racial injustice, systemic racism, and institutionalized inequality. The deans among us look forward to the opportunity to consider and ultimately act on what the faculties propose to expand the curriculum in this important way,“ the email said.

Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at susan.j.boutwell@dartmouth.edu.

Susan J. Boutwell