Humanics in Activism
Editor’s Note: Our Humanics philosophy and mission guide our community, through good times and through tough times. Humanics helps us chart our course, steer into the wind, and maintain our intended direction toward leading and serving. During times like these, Humanics also is the glue that keeps us together as a community. This year has seen some unimaginable moments, but the Springfield College community—especially our students, and including our administrators, faculty, and staff—have been stars in leading the important work that must be done as we continue to fulfill our mission. The following events and actions highlight this leadership in creating positive change on the campus and in the world.
President Meets with Black Students
In September, President Mary-Beth Cooper, PhD, DM, and Vice President for Inclusion and Community Engagement Calvin Hill, PhD, met with the leadership of four Black student groups, Men of Excellence, Women of Power, Student Society for Bridging Diversity (SSBD), and the newly created Black Student Union, to discuss actions the students prioritized to demonstrate progress toward improving the campus climate for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students.
A SEAT at the Table Week
Numbering more than 2,000, students and alumni from across the campus and around the country joined the staff of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and its partners in October and November for “A SEAT (Social justice, Equity, Accountability, Transformation) at the Table Week.” A conference of educational experiences across media, pedagogies, and practices, the week consisted of 40 diverse sessions hosted by Springfield College students, faculty, staff, alumni, and off-campus guests.
Topics included health care, business, environmental science, dance, art, mental health, education, and athletics and recreation, with a focus on the role of identity, culture, power, and privilege in these areas.
A SEAT at the Table featured Zoom sessions dedicated to deconstructing oppressive systems and transforming our community toward equity for all. Legacy alumni of color, who brought their experiences from the 1960s and 1970s to the table, as well as the Alumni of Color Subcommittee of the Alumni Council, offered historical perspective and commitment.
College Leadership Affirms Commitment to Inclusion
President Mary-Beth Cooper and her leadership team adopted “The Springfield College Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Commitment,” enunciating the importance of acting to eradicate racism and social inequity from Springfield College.
The commitment includes: increasing diverse representation in our faculty, staff, and students; encouraging engagement and courageous participation in programs and conversations; contributing, leading, and serving in our local community; educating for social justice, advocacy, and action in our curricular and co-curricular programs; and, recognizing the College’s complex history related to race and social justice, seeking to use the past as a tool for learning and a foundation for future action.
Dancers Against Racism
This fall, the Springfield College Dance program invited the community to join in the “Dancers Against Racism Series: Move for the Movement,” virtual events led by guest artists using dance as a platform and lens to discuss racism. Classes consisted of both all-level and intermediate movement and discussion and were accessed via Zoom. Programs included: West African Dance with Jason Aryeh; Indigenous People’s Day Celebration with Jessica Moore of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe; Jazz Fusion with Brittany Monachino; Dancehall with Alysia Douglas; Tutting with Matthew Gibbs; Horton-Ailey with Lakey Evans-Peña; and a “Drive-In” Dance Concert.
Educate. End Hate.
Earlier in the fall, a group of students, faculty, and staff discussed ways to create an inclusive community, focusing on ending biased language across the campus, specifically the use of the N word. The group launched a social media campaign titled “Educate. End Hate.” It featured community members saying the words “Educate. End Hate.” on camera in vignettes that were shared to social media.
March for Action on Alden
On Oct. 15, the historic March for Action on Alden Street to support anti-racist efforts took place on the campus. Dressed in black and chanting “No Justice, No Peace,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Love Thy Neighbor,” students marched from the President’s Residence west up Alden Street, left on Wilbraham Avenue, and back onto the campus to the Naismith Green. President Mary-Beth Cooper, members of her leadership team, and members of the faculty and staff marched with them. The march stopped on the Green where speeches by student organizers Luther Wade and Derek Webb, Student Trustee Kris Rhim, Vice President Calvin Hill, and the President were delivered.
Attendees had to register to attend, and the group was masked and limited to 50 people in abidance with COVID-19 restrictions. Others watched the event live on the Springfield College Facebook account.
Campus groups including the Graduate Student Organization, Men of Excellence, Department of Athletics, and Office of Multicultural Affairs, collaborated to spread voter registration and voting awareness information to the student body prior to the November elections. Through the #SCVotes campaign, students were urged to volunteer at the polls to ensure a safe, fair, efficient election; register to vote and request absentee ballots; and to learn other ways to participate in the democratic process, as well as about the candidates and issues.
No to Hate Speech
A statement to decry discrimination and hate speech was adopted by Springfield College following the efforts of the offices of General Counsel and Student Affairs, and the Student Trustee, and Student Trustee-Elect. The statement reads, in part, “We recognize that hate speech diminishes us as a society and harms those at who it is directed … We, therefore, adopt the … precepts of the United Nations as our own in striving to educate and eradicate the damaging consequences of hate speech.”
Multicultural Fund Launched
The Office of the Vice President for Inclusion and Community Engagement, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), and the Black Student Union have collaborated to launch and will administer the Multicultural Fund for campus diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. This funding is in addition to current funding for the OMA and other diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The goal is to support and encourage collaborations that promote social justice, antiracism, inclusion, and acceptance in the Springfield College community. Faculty, staff, students, and student clubs and organizations may apply for grants to support these goals.