We the faculty and staff of the English Department stand in solidarity with all of those on our campuses, around Columbus, and across the nation, who are protesting white supremacy and proclaiming that Black Lives Matter. We mourn and are outraged by the losses of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black people. We condemn the violence of anti-Blackness even as we acknowledge the structuring role of racism in institutions like ours. In our anger over these injustices, we join the leaders of our university in rejecting hate in all of its forms; in reaffirming the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and in reflecting on the ways in which our university and our department continually fail to live up to these values. In committing to structural change through deliberate action, we are guided by the testimonies of the members of our community who bear the everyday realities of racial oppression and endure its emotional, psychological, and physical costs.
We commit to the following actions:
- We will develop and act on a strategy for recruiting more undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups, particularly BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) scholars, and supporting our current students from these groups.
- In order to acknowledge and reward anti-racist labor that too often remains invisible, we will add details to the category on our Annual Activity Report (the basis for merit compensation) where faculty list work they have done in the interest of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism.
- We will create new teaching modules, courses, and/or requirements to build upon our current diversity requirement in the English major.
- When we teach and study texts that contain racial slurs and instances of hate speech, instructors and students will not say them aloud in the classroom.
- We will continue to offer to the OSU community our series of workshops on Anti-Racist Pedagogy, Methodology and Mentoring, beginning with a November 2020 event co-organized with the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme.
- When hiring of faculty and staff begins again, we will keep in mind the centrality of anti-racism and non-discrimination to the department we aspire to become.