In a written statement, the African American Student Union (AASU) and AfricaGSD from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) have demanded the administration to “actively institutionalize anti-racism and acknowledge that pedagogy has a cultural obligation.”
The Harvard GSD cannot claim academic excellence while maintaining silence, the letter said.
“The Black in Design conference, a student-initiated and led effort, has been appropriated for recruitment, misrepresenting, and obscuring larger institutional inequities that continuously go unaddressed at the GSD. Tokenizing black faculty and students and our work as proof of anti-racist efforts is the institutional equivalent of stating, ‘I’m not racist, I have Black friends.’ Bombarding us with e-mails on the responses and efforts of other schools and organizations, rather than providing your own, is not only performative but also harmful. These ‘actions’ are virtue signaling; they are damaging, evasive, defensive, and demonstrate your inability to understand that this institution is part of the problem.”