School of Music, Theatre, and Dance Issues Letter of Support
June 5, 2020
Dear KSU MTD Family:
In reflecting on the recent murders of Black Americans, we are disgusted with the callous disregard for human life and dignity that we continue to see displayed in our country. We, in the performing arts, have a responsibility to use our voices to help dismantle the systemic racism that has been present since its founding. We not only do this through the performance of the vast repertoire of artistic endeavors by black composers, playwrights and choreographers; but we also do so through performing works that challenge the root causes of prejudice, hate, and inequality.
The Kansas State University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance is committed to being that voice through its performances, research, and service. In preparing the next generation of performers, teachers, designers, technicians, and therapists, the MTD community rejects racism in any form and embraces the diverse identities and cultures of the members of its community and those in society at large.
We recognize that although we are committed to these ideals, we have not always been the community that all of our members want and need. In Fall 2019, we began a Diversity and Inclusion Committee in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance to help us achieve these ideals. At the start of the spring semester, this committee hosted a diversity forum to learn from the students, faculty, and staff of our community what we needed to do in the future to create the supportive community that we aspire to be.
We have work to do, but we are confident that we will continue to make positive strides toward our ideals because we are committed to these principles:
- We value the identity, experiences, and uniqueness of all members of our MTD community and know that every member of our community makes our academic and artistic endeavors richer.
- We value all voices and perspectives and are committed to a community of respectful discourse because solving artistic and societal problems can only be done when all voices are heard.
- We recognize that members of our community have varying degrees of privilege and/or belong to a group of people who has been historically oppressed and experienced prejudice that has negatively impacted them. MTD is committed to meeting all the needs of individuals and groups to help them achieve their academic and artistic goals.
- We recognize that members of our community may have limited experiences and understanding of diverse cultures and lifestyles, but MTD is committed to providing students high quality experiences with diverse cultures and lifestyles because it makes our community of learners more empathetic individuals who become better performers, teachers, therapists, and solvers of society’s problems.
Community is vital to a performing arts organization, so we are not successful if members of our community are hurting. If we can do anything to help you to navigate this crisis in our country or the pandemic or anything you may have in your own life, please reach out to us. This is why we are here.
Jeffrey Ward, Director
Kate Digby, Associate Director
Kurt Gartner, Associate Director
Benjamin Stark, Associate Director
Jennifer Vellenga, Associate Director
MTD Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Colleen White, Chair