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Working Together to Confront Racism

DEPARTMENT(S): 
October 21, 2021

This message was sent to the WPI community.

Racism is a traumatic experience. It impacts mental health and well-being, and it ultimately hurts us all. Despite all of our Sustainable Inclusive Excellence efforts, as well as our larger goal of fostering a culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, racist comments continue to be made here on our campus. 

In some instances, the racism is “casual” and seemingly unintentional; in others, it is overt.  Sometimes bystanders become upstanders, and our students of color feel supported. Sadly, that is not always the case. 

It is imperative that we work to change this; WPI is a diverse community composed of many different faiths, races and ethnicities, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and socio-economic statuses. To ensure that WPI is a welcoming, respectful, and safe place for everyone, we must all reject all forms of bias, prejudice, and hateful rhetoric or acts of any kind. We must all adhere to two guiding principles: to show respect for each other as human beings with equivalent value, and to share an abhorrence of prejudice and intolerance in all its forms.

It comes down to caring and doing. We must help each other by gaining the knowledge—and the courage—that will allow us to apply our problem-solving skills to this complex issue. Before we can confront instances of racism and bias, we must first identify them; WPI offers many resources to those who either experience or witness racism or acts of bias within this community, including:

  • WPI’s Bias Response Program responds to individual incidents of bias within the university. Anyone who submits a Bias Incident Report Form is connected to WPI’s more formal reporting options. This team also provides resources and support for impacted individuals and ensures incidents are addressed promptly, effectively, and equitably.
  • The I’m Concerned About a Student form notifies The WPI Care Team about students who may be struggling. This group of professional staff members meets weekly during the academic year to determine support and outreach to address student safety, welfare, and academic success.
  • Students can report incidents to the Dean of Students Office in the Rubin Campus Center and also at 508-831-5201 or Dean-of-students@wpi.edu. Students living on campus can report incidents to their Resident Advisor or the Residential Services Office.
  • Employees can speak with their supervisor and/or contact their Talent & Inclusion partner. 
  • WPI Campus Police can be reached at 508-831-5555.

We encourage you to look into WPI’s resources and offerings to continue to educate yourself:

Together we can make WPI an even better, more inclusive university, and we thank you for your help and partnership.

Sincerely,

Alicia Mills                            
Interim Vice President of Talent & Inclusion                
Talent & Inclusion                        

Philip Clay
Senior Vice President, Student Affairs
Dean of Students Office