Letter from the School of Architecture
July 9, 2020
Dear School of Architecture Community,
In partnership with our peer Departments at the Academy of Art University, with our non-profit partners in San Francisco, with our professional and academic colleagues across the United States, and with the knowledge that architectural education and the profession of architecture have a long way to go before we have built equitable representation across race and gender identities, the School of Architecture offers our commitment to doing better. We hear, once again, a Call to Action.
The Black Lives Matter movement, along with outstanding advocacy from National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), Design as Protest, and Blackspace.org, demands a reimagined future of architecture. In response, we are re-crafting the School of Architecture Strategic Plan to create Anti-Racist culture and curriculum with the following priorities for action:
We are actively listening to our students who engage with us to unveil their experiences. To make the conversations more transparent, we are introducing a new platform called Director-Student Conversations on Diversity and Identity.
We are learning and re-learning the methodologies of social justice to support open, honest, and productive conversations on race inequalities with our students.
We are re-designing our architecture studio curriculum to remove barriers to achievement and to address issues of inequity and injustice.
We are investigating the breadth of our history, theory, and professional courses to expose the history of racism that have prevented black communities and communities of color from thriving. In addition, we are specifically highlighting the contributions of black architects, black culture, and black labor in the built environment.
We are examining the practices that we take for granted in addressing how we utilize shared spaces together with our professional and non-profit partners who work in the realms of public space and place-making.
We are mentoring students and young architects on their professional paths so that they become advocates for underserved communities.
We are recruiting faculty and guest speakers who will broaden our perspectives and increase our empathy for communities of color and students of color.
We are building safe and equitable spaces for Black communities in San Francisco. We will work towards a goal of empowering more residents and communities as agents of Anti-Racism in the design of the built environment.
In Fall 2020 our School of Architecture turns 20. We look forward to expanding the conversations being launched this Summer in a variety of platforms that include open lectures, panels, and dialogues.
Students and faculty are invited to join us on Thursday July 16, 2020 at 5:00pm PST in Zoom for the first in a series of Diversity and Identity conversations.
Mimi Sullivan, Executive Director
Jennifer Asselstine, Undergraduate Director
Karen Seong, Undergraduate Assistant Director
Mark Mueckenheim, Graduate Director
Eric Lum, Online Director
Yim Gloria Jew, Graduate Assistant Director