More than 350 New England Conservatory (NEC) alumni have signed a letter addressed to the school’s president, Andrea Kalyn calling out the university for failing to acknowledge what they define as its role in “reproducing the social conditions it claims to abhor.”
It is time for the Conservatory’s leadership to be courageous in addressing its history and sustained role in promoting the purported supremacy of Eurocentric musical traditions. This history has informed the institution’s organizational DNA, and current racialized inequalities, exclusions, and silences at the Conservatory can be traced back to this legacy. Above and beyond hiring a single consultant, we urge the New England Conservatory to substantiate its solidarity statement by developing mechanisms to address trenchant and systemic institutional issues. We call on the Conservatory’s leadership and Board of Trustees to dismantle the Conservatory’s cultural caste system by adopting six anti-racist policy actions in its diversity, equity, and inclusion work.
The letter goes on to spell out several policy measures they wish to see the school implement which include, but are not limited to:
- …institutional support for economically and socially at-risk Black students.
- …mental wellness resources that are tailored for the Black experience be made available at an institutional level.
- Collect and share vital baseline data and vest NEC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce with the authority and resources needed to eliminate all racial disparities.
- Diversify the NEC Board of Trustees.
The full list along with broader context are available at the letter’s Google Forms page it is using to collect additional signatures from NEC alumni