Published: June 11, 2020 | Updated: September 14, 2020
Let us be clear: Black students matter. Black faculty and staff matter. Black alumni matter. Black. Lives. Matter.
Now—more than ever—our work at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication is critical. The unfolding of recent national and community events reinforces our mission to advance important conversations. We are committed to supporting research, dialogue and action that combat racism, institutional discrimination and systemic oppression.
We know there is much work to be done. And that work involves the entire Manship School family: students, faculty and staff, administrators and alumni. We are committed to refining our curriculum and school culture to be a more inclusive and cohesive environment.
We are developing a plan of action for the coming months, which includes:
- Amplifying the voices of our Black students, faculty and staff, alumni, administrators and community members. We are dedicated to identifying and removing the systemic barriers that impede success and progress. Toward that end, we will do better in championing Black individuals’ concerns, research and accolades.
- Re-evaluating and revising our equity and inclusion plan and school policies, with renewed perspective, objectives and initiatives, this fall. As we teach and mentor students and engage the community, these efforts will aim to center racial justice as a core part of our organizational identity. This conversation will involve our students, alumni, faculty and staff.
- Developing a monthly series of events, “Racism: Dismantling the System,” from the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, beginning in September 2020 that foreground productive discussions about race. Building on the Center’s previous race and equity work, the series will feature conversations ranging from the history of racism and the ideological constructs of race in society to the economic, political and societal impacts of racism. The series is part of a yearlong partnership with Southern University and A&M College’s Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences, Louisiana Budget Project, NAACP Louisiana State Conference and LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
- Dedicating additional internal research funding to support scholarship specifically related to race and the media. This funding will be available to students and faculty whose forthcoming research centers on related topics. We released a call for proposals in June.
Our commitment to racial justice is not new and is central to our core values. We are proud to have created the nation’s first and only endowed chair in race, media and cultural literacy, the Manship-Maynard Chair held by Dr. Tina M. Harris. We are proud to have been the inaugural recipient of the national Equity & Diversity Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in 2009. Building on this tradition, we will remain dedicated to identifying and pursuing initiatives—teaching, research and hands-on training—that foster inclusion and equity.
We recognize the urgency and gravity of our continued responsibilities to prepare the next generation of leaders to condemn racism and systems of oppression, to train journalists to uncover stories in historically oppressed communities that might be overlooked, and to educate strategic communicators to deliver messages that recognize the Black experience. Our work will continue to enrich the development of the global citizens we teach our Manship School students to be. This dialogue is ongoing among our school’s administrators, faculty and staff, students and alumni. We are listening. We are acting. We will do more, and we will do better.