Dean Schmittlein's letter of support for the BBSA
We are in unsettling times and it is during these times that community is of the utmost importance. I was reminded of this fact by members of the Black Business Students Association who sought to bring visibility to the struggles they face individually and collectively – at MIT Sloan and in the world. On June 1, these students sponsored a town hall for the MIT Sloan community. Through their willingness to share their very personal stories, they have given more than perhaps they can know to this school and to each member of our community. These students asked each of us to acknowledge the challenges our Black students and students of color face and to take action at a time of critical importance. This call to action has galvanized the students, faculty, and staff of the MIT Sloan School. It has strengthened our resolve to end the systemic racism which continues to haunt this country. The town hall taught me more than I could reasonably expect or ask the students to teach me. These students have done more for our community than we have for them, through their honesty and bravery in the face of unending societal discrimination.
And they continue to help. Our students are helping to clarify what will make a difference at MIT Sloan – from identifying valuable material that addresses diversity and inclusion within our curriculum; by suggesting new teaching materials that would be helpful for all of our programs; by asking for greater diversity across the community; by encouraging education and offering resources for all members of the community. I thank them for this partnership and hope that they will continue to share their ideas with me. I also welcome our students’ partnership with Associate Deans Ray Reagans and Fiona Murray. In their roles, Ray and Fiona are both the points of contact at MIT Sloan for community support and engagement, as well as the leaders of the change that must happen on our campus. I am deeply grateful for their partnership and support as, together, we work to increase diversity on our campus through the matriculation of students of color and through the recruitment of under-represented groups on our faculty and amongst our staff. While statements of support are important, we are an action-oriented organization. There are a number of on-going efforts that may not be visible to all members of our community -yet. They underscore our intention to “do the work.” Some of those activities include the review of orientation, Sloan Intensive Period, our curriculum in core classes, and the addition of new classes for our students. We are redesigning processes for applicant interviews and staff hiring. We are examining how we attract PhD students and faculty to MIT Sloan. We are providing forums and resources for all members of our community to engage in this work and to expand their own learning.
We hope this expanded website section will make our diversity, equity, and inclusion work more visible to our MIT Sloan community and to the world at large. This does not suggest we are doing enough. We are not. There is more to do. But today, I am proud of our community and how it has come together with new energy to address these long-standing issues.