July 1, 2020
Dear Pratt Community,
Throughout the past month, we have received many emails and social media comments from students, faculty, and staff expressing concerns about our relationship with the NYPD, the lack of diverse representation in our curriculum, and the need for more communication and accountability regarding our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
During this time, members of our administration have taken these concerns into serious consideration, and formulated plans to address them as directly and immediately as possible. Last Thursday, a first step was taken toward understanding the concerns around Pratt’s Public Safety office and our relationship to the NYPD with a community dialogue in which Pratt students, faculty, and staff shared their experiences, and asked us challenging and probing questions. Importantly, we also heard clearly that there is a need for continued community dialogues with more time allotted to hear directly from students, faculty, and staff.
Pratt Institute believes that the lives of our Black students, faculty, and staff matter, and condemns injustice, discrimination, and racism in all forms. Thank you for your patience as we have carefully considered your concerns and developed a plan for next steps.
For the next academic year, we commit to the following actions. We will:
- share a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Progress Report with the community in the beginning of the fall semester, which will include demographic data on Pratt leadership, students, faculty, and staff, and provide updates on increased scholarship funding for underrepresented students,
- mandate online diversity, equity, and inclusion training via EVERFI for all students, faculty, and staff starting fall semester, and continue offering the DEI Allies Training Certificate Program for faculty and staff,
- include students, faculty, staff and Public Safety team members in our Campus Safety Committee that will examine our relationship with the NYPD and explore community-led alternatives to policing,
- provide racial diversity training specifically designed for Public Safety officers and explore strategies to reduce our reliance on contracted security companies,
- develop school and department-level Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan goals that will specifically address efforts to decolonize and diversify our curriculum,
- share the 2019 Campus Climate Survey Results with the community in the beginning of the fall semester,
- update the Community Standards, Human Rights, and Title IX Policies for students, faculty, and staff,
- appoint Search Advocates on every search committee for faculty and staff positions to ensure equity and diversity are prioritized during the search and hiring processes,
- launch next steps towards formation of a Board of Trustees Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that will include members of the Board of Trustees and the President’s Task Force, among others,
- expand our civic engagement infrastructure and community outreach efforts, and continue to evaluate the gates that surround the Brooklyn campus, and
- evaluate the Pratt holiday calendar to observe Juneteenth and Indigenous Peoples Day.
We also commit to hosting a series of conversations and dialogues throughout the upcoming academic year to hear additional concerns from the community, discuss our progress on these initiatives, and work together on collaborative solutions.
Pratt will need all members in our community to engage collectively, and ensure that our action steps are thoughtful, transparent, and uphold our commitments to Black lives and to excellence in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Kirk E. Pillow
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Nsombi B. Ricketts
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Vice President for Student Affairs