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Affirming Our Commitment to Creating a Safe and Inclusive Campus Environment

On November 21, Berklee President Roger H. Brown and the Berklee President’s Cabinet sent this letter out to students, faculty, and staff to reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all.

“As heavy as this weight feels now, I trust it’s not over—that it’s an opportunity to rise up stronger, more focused, and pour our hearts and our work into love. This world needs music, art, and the compassion that comes from sharing our stories. I’m getting ready.”
—Emily Elbert, ’11

To All Members of the Berklee Community,

The recent presidential election has evoked a range of emotions that have sparked many meaningful conversations across the Berklee campus. It will take some time for our nation to fully understand the implications of recent events. However, in light of acts of hate and bias that have been reported nationally and within New England, it is essential that students, faculty, and staff here at Berklee continue to embrace and honor our responsibilities as a community.

Berklee is at its best when we come together to engage in respectful dialogue that fosters understanding, when we support those who feel marginalized, threatened, or unwelcome, and when we unite against acts of intolerance or hate. Diversity is integral to our institutional mission and we view it holistically, understanding that the definition is constantly evolving. Our definition of diversity includes race, color, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, class, ideology, religion, ability, age, and sexual orientation. We also know that a diversity of ideas, approaches, disciplines, learning modalities, and musical and performing arts styles are essential to inclusion and equity. The integration of myriad cultural values and perspectives into what we do at all levels, from teaching to decision-making, is critical.

Our Pledge: We, as leaders of the institution, reaffirm that we will honor and respect everyone in our remarkable collection of musicians, dancers, actors, teachers, therapists, healers, administrators, and staff. With students from 105 countries, we value the distinctive voices that weave threads from differing backgrounds, ideologies, and religions into the fabric of our community. A diverse and inclusive working and learning environment is essential to our role as a pioneering institution of performing arts education, and as we navigate the division and contention of our nation, we ask that all students, faculty, and staff stay true to the values of the Berklee community.

As part of Berklee’s ongoing efforts to create a safe and inclusive environment for all, we have a number of different resources available and initiatives in place to support our community:

Safety is a top priority for Berklee. Public Safety is making additional efforts to ensure campus safety and inform our community, including working closely with the Boston Police Department. It is our collective responsibility to uphold the values of our institution by honoring and respecting one another, and helping maintain a safe place to learn and work.

Opportunities for Dialogue
Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion, and Human Resources have been leading conversations with students, faculty, and staff to encourage and guide positive dialogue through this time of change. We have also seen community members come together independently to offer each other support. Over the next few months, we will continue to provide opportunities to connect with one another and learn about how to be active community members while remaining safe.

We look forward to working together with all of you to advance our extraordinary work and to ensure that Berklee continues to be a welcoming place for all members of our dynamic and global institution.

Share your own commitment to creating an inclusive community in the comments below.


The Members of the Berklee President’s Cabinet

Roger Brown, President, Berklee
Richard Ortner, President, Boston Conservatory at Berklee
Eileen Alviti, Vice President of Human Resources
Carl Beatty, Assistant Vice President of Artist and Music Industry Relations
Joe Bennett, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Boston Conservatory at Berklee
Debbie Cavalier, Senior Vice President of Online Learning and Continuing Education
Jeanine Cowen, Vice President for Curriculum and Program Innovation
David Gregory, Vice President for Technology Resources
Mac Hisey, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO
Melissa Howe, Chief of Staff
Maria Iturriaga, Executive Director, Valencia Campus
Chris Kandus-Fisher, Vice President for Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion; Chief Equity Officer
Jay Kennedy, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice Provost
Mike King, Vice President for Enrollment Marketing and Management
Cindy Albert Link, Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement
David Mash, Senior Vice President for Innovation, Strategy, and Technology
Betsy Newman, Senior Vice President for Student Enrollment and Engagement
Tom Riley, Vice President for External Affairs
Rob Rose, Vice President for Special Programs
Larry Simpson, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost
Bill Whitney, Vice President for Real Estate
Lee Whitmore, Vice President, Education Outreach and Social Entrepreneurship


In Memoriam: Victor Bailey


Journey of Hope @ LOFT

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Colleen Cooke

    What a wonderful example for other institutions of higher education! I take the pledge to make Slippery Rock a safe and welcoming environment for all students and stakeholders.

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