MGSA EDI Committee School Newsletter

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The newly formed Mason Gross Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee is excited to share our first newsletter with this community.

As you return to classes, we hope your break was restorative, reflective, and peaceful. Despite the creativity, resiliency, and inspiring ways our community has adapted and grown over the last several months of remote instruction, we continue to face an ongoing public health crisis, and an array of profound and troubling challenges throughout society. The recent violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol illustrates and deepens the painful wounds and anxieties about the persistence and emboldening of white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and anti-democratic forces that have long undergirded our country.

The impact of these and other traumatic events reverberate in myriad ways through our communities, families, school, and lives. Providing an ethical imperative for our role as artists and teachers, Dean Geary’s recent memo in the wake of the Capitol attack offers grounding and possibility: “As we reject violence and falsehood while affirming the values of civility, tolerance, and honest debate, let us also redouble our efforts to consider how, as individual artists and scholars and also as a school of the arts, we can engage with the world around us in ways that inspire understanding, empathy, and action in service of the common good. And let us do so secure in the conviction that the arts are a vital ingredient in our nation’s ongoing quest to form a more perfect union.

As we collectively work towards building President Holloway’s vision of a Beloved Community at Mason Gross and Rutgers, we remain steadfast in our commitment to engendering these values of civility, tolerance, empathy, and action in service of the common good. Our Mason Gross Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee was formed to passionately support these values and transform them into demonstrable structural changes throughout our programs, departments, and school.

About the MGSA EDI Committee

The Mason Gross Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee was formally initiated late last spring. The committee is chaired by Theater Professor Marshall Jones III, and faculty, staff, and students from across the school comprise its membership. Please review the school’s new online EDI resource for details about our members and to see our strategic plan. We hope that this page will serve as an accessible and robust resource that reflects the school’s sustained commitment to weaving these issues into everything we do.

In addition, each department now staffs its own EDI committee, and those committees also feature student representatives. We are grateful for the dedication, service, and commitment of all our members.

Our efforts join many others across Rutgers University, including the recent creation of the Institute for the Global Study of Racial Justice, funded by a $15 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the appointment of Enobong (Anna) Branch to the inaugural position of Senior Vice President for Equity; and the recent launch of the Universitywide Diversity Strategic Planning Process, among others.

We look forward to sharing more details about our plans in the coming months, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, we wish everyone a healthy, inspired, and imaginative spring as we set forth again into this unprecedented year of study.

Thank you.

In solidarity,
The Mason Gross EDI Committee
Marshall Jones III, Chair
Karina Daves, Vice-Chair
Cassandra Oliveras-Moreno, Vice-Chair
Marc Handelman, Secretary