Letter to the Editor: Carnegie Mellon United

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Unifying our campus community is one mission inspiring concerned students of color at Carnegie Mellon to take action against racism. Last October in The Tartan, students stressed the importance of faculty engagement and expressed disappointment in the lack of support and compassion on issues regarding racial justice. While some faculty members actively challenged systemic racism, marginalization, and discrimination across the university, students called on other members of the faculty and administration to help create an academically honest and equitable environment for Carnegie Mellon University’s students of color.

Nationally, the horrendous events in Charlottesville are an-other stark reminder that we must condemn hate, racism, anti-Semitism, and discrimination that exists on college campuses. As such, we stand by Student Government’s statement to support one another. Hate must never be tolerated. Beyond this, we call on the entire Carnegie Mellon community to recognize and counteract implicit biases in our everyday actions that drive larger systemic inequalities experienced on campus and across the country.

In spite of the fallout following recent social and political events, we can look to our own leaders and peers to see who stands strong when the foundations of our society are shaken. We commend Acting President Farnam Jahanian, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Gina Casalegno, and Vice Provost for Education Amy Burkert for their unwavering student support, attendance at our rallies and forums, and roles in developing the new Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion. From the Fence to the Point, we Carnegie Mellon University students, along with faculty and staff, stood together against racism and discrimination on and off campus. We stood with our University of Pittsburgh colleagues against the federal immigration ban. We stood with the greater Pittsburgh community in a city-wide Summit Against Racism, and marched with the country at the International Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Our collective actions clearly show that individuals at every level of our community can unite to support each other and make a positive societal impact, both locally and globally.

Taking a look back to last year’s call to action, Carnegie Mellon University has engaged in crucial conversations and efforts to combat social injustice and promote inclusivity. CIT, Dietrich, and Tepper followed CFA’s model and all held deliberative discussions about systemic racism. “Racism Is Real” lectures shed light on the consequences and possible solutions to the problem of discrimination in higher education. Looking to Carnegie Mellon’s future, addressing disparities in the representation of scholars of color between our student body and faculty is paramount. Moreover, those continuing efforts must be intersectional in order to meet the needs of students with diverse personal and educational backgrounds and identities.

Every single person at Carnegie Mellon University can contribute to an inclusive, unified, and compassionate community and culture. Each member of Call to Action deeply believes in this vision. As allies, we aim to amplify the voices of underrepresented and underserved individuals and groups at Carnegie Mellon. We seek to raise awareness about the myriad social injustices that many of us face. As advocates, we seek to educate others about injustice through our events and programming. We will protest to bring about social justice, equity, and positive change. Regardless of where you are from and when you set foot on campus, we call on you to join us in that work.

— Call to Action and the Black Graduate Student Organization Executive Board