Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
A Message to the Theatre Arts Community
June 9, 2020
Together as a unified voice we express our outrage, pain, and grief over the heinous killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. We recognize that this is but the most recent chapter in our long history of unconscionable systemic racism and terror perpetrated against citizens of color. We mourn countless Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and LGBTQ+ members of society who have endured centuries of oppression and inequity, and those who have lost their lives due to racism. We unequivocally condemn White Supremacy and the institutionalized racism that perpetuates injustice.
Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with the black community, with the protestors in our community and across this nation and around the world who have risen up to demand change, to fight for the sanctity of black lives and for justice. We decry all acts of police brutality.
As a nation we have failed at providing equal rights and equal protection under the law. Racism, sexism and gender bias pervade every part of our society. We acknowledge that it is not enough for us now to just condemn brutality and inequity. For us, as a predominantly white institution, we have failed and it is past time to lay bare the individual, cultural, and systemic vestiges of racism and bigotry. Just like the Angel at the end of Part I of Angels in America, we must tear down to rebuild a better society. We must take this up as a central part of our mission. Things must change. We must change. We must begin anew.
We recognize behind every statement there needs to be a plan of action. We are heartened to know that theatre arts students and faculty have been engaged in protesting, meeting with and writing to elected officials, and learning how to further educate themselves, to further engage and to be instigators of institutional change at many levels. We, the collective faculty of the Department of Theatre Arts, commit to pursue racial justice. We commit to listen and to hold each other accountable as we move forward in this work together.
Below you will find critical tasks and action items from our Strategic Plan, which was developed by the faculty over the past academic year and submitted to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) in May. This is a working plan with critical benchmarks. We welcome input regarding the plan and will work with student reps to refine action items that will further improve the Department of Theatre Arts. Besides these items, we are also in the process of securing a workshop for the department that focuses on diversity/equity/inclusion, specifically in the development of new works. We will also form a committee who will draft a reporting policy. We will do better. You can hold us accountable.
|Critical Tasks||Tactics - Action Items|
|Hire and support diverse full-time faculty and strengthen visiting artist program.||
1. Create a Hiring Plan
|Recruit and support diverse undergraduate and graduate students.||
1. Engage under-served communities in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids through outreach workshops and events.
|Develop a deeper understanding of current DEI policies and procedures.||
1. Provide DEI led workshops in department.
|Create the necessary cultural shift to support theatre and social justice at the curricular, programming, and community/performance engagement.||
1. House Theater Without Borders collective and archive.
|Strengthen student engagement opportunities.||
1. Rebuild Darwin Turner Action Theatre to produce 1-2 DTAT events per year.
|Increase the department’s community engagement efforts related to its extensive production offerings.||
1. Create study guides for each production and encourage other departments and programs to include the production in their syllabi when appropriate.