Following the reprehensible statements made by faculty at Georgetown Law, Vice Dean Scott Taylor shared a message with the SFS community.
Dear Members of the SFS Community,
Dean Hellman and I, along with the leadership team of the SFS, join in the condemnation of the incident at the Georgetown University Law Center last week in which two faculty members held a deeply disturbing conversation about the evaluation of Black law students. This exchange drew widespread denunciation, and a swift response by President DeGioia, Dean of the Law School William Treanor, and others in the University leadership. Although this incident directly concerns students at the GULC, we are very much aware of how this impacts all members of our community, particularly students. Indeed, what the video revealed most starkly is that while bias, both implicit and explicit, has no legitimate place in our classrooms, we have much to do to eradicate it.
In SFS, we have embarked on an effort to embed antiracism as a core principle. That includes making our community more diverse, more inclusive and welcoming, and more tolerant of difference. Thus, we aim to make ourselves not only more aware of our preconceptions and prejudices, but equip the members of our community with the tools to combat these biases.
We have engaged in various trainings for faculty and staff on racism, microaggressions, and implicit bias, and we look to expand those efforts to all members of the SFS faculty; whether one is a core faculty member in her third decade at Georgetown, or an adjunct teaching their first course, this self-examination is essential.
We also plan to soon institute a series of student focus groups so that we may better understand students’ perspective on diversity, equity and inclusion in the SFS, and better serve students who feel marginalized or undervalued in the classroom because of their race, identity or status.
But listening and learning need not wait for focus group activities. Therefore, we invite your input and ideas on how to combat issues like that which occurred this week in GULC and, more importantly, prevent them from happening in the first place. We welcome the opportunity to hear from all members of the SFS community, and particularly our students, so that we can continue to learn from you and engage in the genuine partnership necessary to ensure that the School of Foreign Service is a truly welcoming, inclusive and safe space for all of us.
Scott D. Taylor, Ph.D.
Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Professor, African Studies Program
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
The content of this message was sent as an email to the community on March 16, 2021.