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Introduction to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement

This statement is a living document. We acknowledge there is always more work to do to embody and animate our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We know we need to make the art, design, and scholarship that will bring vibrancy and illumination to this statement. The declarations and commitments put forward here serve to shape our practices and methods moving forward, and to set community expectations. Everyone at Otis, regardless of position, is expected to be accountable to this DEI statement as a compass in our work and to rely on the DEI Council as one of many resources for addressing harms and constructing genuine inclusion.

Otis' Ten Points: Standing Up for Equity:

  1. We do not tolerate racism or any other form of violence or discrimination from anyone. 
  2. We expect all Otis community members to work toward dismantling systems of oppression.
  3. We recognize the College’s historical struggles around equity and the ways those reflect struggles in U.S. culture and beyond.
  4. We recognize diversity as a reality, a responsibility, and a resource.
  5. We commit to treating every person’s identity with dignity and respect.
  6. We commit to practicing institutional responsibility to redress unjust histories.
  7. We commit to an ongoing systemic and structural approach in correcting inequities: this work is collective, not individual.
  8. We commit to hold ourselves and one another accountable to our collective effort to create an inclusive campus invigorated by difference.
  9. We commit to honesty, vulnerability, and openness as we dialogue across differences. 
  10. We commit to an intersectional and justice-oriented approach.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement (long form)

At Otis College of Art and Design, we do not tolerate racism or any other form of violence or discrimination from anyone in the Otis community. Fighting anti-Blackness in our community prompts us to accept the urgent charge of fighting all forms of dehumanization and move toward right action. The College recognizes its historical struggles around diversity, equity, and inclusion; this statement signals our commitment to move the institution toward an intentional effort to prioritize equity for those who have historically been left out and/or continue to be marginalized. The College recognizes multiple dimensions of diversity and intersections of identities that include, but are not limited to: both apparent and non apparent manifestations of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic class, physical ability or attributes, behavioral health, neuro-diversity, religious, spiritual or ethical values systems, worldview or cosmovision, national origin, language(s) of origin, citizenship(s), political beliefs, and other ideologies. In a globalized world that is complex and multidimensional, diversity often involves a convergence of multiple identities, i.e. intersectionality. While we value all forms of diversity, any expression or action that is severe and persistent, and directly contradicts or disregards the guidelines this Statement articulates will not be tolerated. 

A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion requires moving beyond mere tolerance and tokenism. This statement signals the College’s recognition of diversity as a reality, a responsibility, and a resource. Statements alone do not replace imbalance with equilibrium or oppression with equity. The College commits to accompanying this statement with specific, concrete, and evolving action directed toward the work of liberation, at both individual and institutional levels, in which we purposefully identify systems and structures that must be interrogated, often repeatedly, in order to correct inequities and foster an affirming and validating campus climate for all. 

Otis makes this DEI Statement at a time when the need to take concrete action toward justice and dignity for all people has never been more urgent. We will use the framework outlined here in all decisions that affect the College: within our curricula, pedagogy, initiatives, structures, programs, recruitment, hiring and admissions practices, pay structures, governance, campus culture and protocols, community and corporate partnerships, and individual relationships. The College expects that all of its community members will do the ongoing work to propel ourselves and the institution to dismantle systems of oppression, and to hold ourselves and one another accountable to our collective effort to create an inclusive campus invigorated by difference. At Otis, we value all identities and respect how each one comes with its separate and unique positions. We commit to treating every person’s identities with dignity and respect, acknowledging an institutional responsibility to redress unjust histories.

The College understands that diversity, equity, and inclusion work requires us to grow as an institution and resist systemic inequities, further examining the roles power, privilege, and specifically white supremacy play within our practices and systems. In an effort to manifest change that is aspirational and liberatory, we must be committed to negotiate and dialogue honestly, with vulnerability and openness, across differences. And we must put into practice structures of conflict engagement and accountability that allow members of our community to learn, grow, understand, make and repair mistakes, and take action such that the ideas in this statement come alive across the institution. The College commits to using the core values of our own mission statement—creativity, skill, and vision—as our compass in doing the hard work of implementing this intersectional and justice-oriented approach.