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Date:    June 3, 2020
To:        The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Community
Re:       Statement on current crisis in the USA

We are saddened and angered by the senseless killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. The peaceful mass street protests taking place in dozens of cities across the country reflect the profound frustrations, not only with the excessive use of force by law enforcement officers directed at people of color, but with the systemic racism African Americans have been subjected to in the U.S. for generations.

The Herbert School of Communication recognizes the pain these developments have caused for many members of our community, especially since it coincides with the tragic news of over 100-thousand U.S. deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 40-plus-million people out of work caused by the economic shutdown, stark realities which have also detrimentally impacted Black, Latinx and other marginalized communities.

As media educators and students aspiring to become communication leaders, but most importantly as citizens, we must address head-on the issue of police brutality and the sustained injustices against the Black community and communities of color in general. 

We, as citizens, must support and defend the right to peacefully assemble and to be heard. In doing so, we should recognize that in Hofstra University’s immediate vicinity, these same issues are impacting our neighbors on a daily basis.

Herbert School faculty and administrators recognize the immense ethical and moral responsibility we have in creating an array of mediated messages with respect, accuracy, and sensitivity, to take seriously the impact these images and words may have on people, whether they are our colleagues, are part of the stories we’re covering, or members of the audience receiving these messages.

Martin Luther King stated: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." 

We stand for change. A better world is indeed possible.

And we are ready to forge the path with you towards building that better world together.

In future communications in the coming days and weeks, we will keep you posted on specific actions, events, and projects that the Diversity and Inclusion Committee will lead, alongside all of you, with these objectives in mind.

Looking forward, always…stay strong and be safe!

Signed,

MEMBERS OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION COMMITTEE:
Bruce Avery, General Manager, WRHU, Radio Hofstra University
Ivan Cardona, Assistant Professor, Dept. Journalism, Media Studies, Public Relations
Robyn Crosby, Director of Operations, Personnel, and Budget
Russell Chun, Assistant Professor, Dept. Journalism, Media Studies, Public Relations
Adeline Davis, Student, Herbert School
Nicole Franklin, Assistant Professor, Dept. Radio, Television, Film
Russell Harbaugh, Assistant professor, Dept. Radio, Television, Film
Sara Hendricks, Professional in Residence, WRHU, Radio Hofstra University
Phil Katzman, Associate Professor, Chair, Dept. Radio Television, Film
Mario A. Murillo, Vice Dean, Professor, Herbert School
Victoria Semple, Associate Professor, Dept. Journalism, Media Studies, Film
Patricia Szenher, Equipment Room Manager, Adjunct Assistant Professor, RTVF

Who We Are

The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication (“LHSC”) Diversity and Inclusion Committee was established to help build our School into a model of what a truly diverse and inclusive community can look like; where all of our students, faculty, and staff feel welcome to thrive in their academic and personal experiences. This Committee is dedicated to creating an educational environment that embraces diversity of thought and acceptance of all people regardless of age, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, and their social, cultural, political, economic, spiritual, or physical differences.

We believe that with knowledge comes change and progress, and it is on this principle that the Committee works to promote equality, foster equal access and equal opportunity, and eliminate discrimination.

Follow the LHSC Diversity and Inclusion Committee on Twitter and Instagram.

Join Us

Members

  • Mario Murillo, Vice Dean
  • Robyn Crosby, Administrator, Dean’s Office
  • Patricia Szenher, Equip Rm Manager
  • Nicole Franklin, Assistant Professor, RTVF
  • Russell Harbaugh, Assistant Professor, RTVF
  • Phil Katzman, Associate Professor, RTVF
  • Lydia Oh, Student
  • Paula Chirinos, Student
  • Bruce Avery, GM WRHU
  • Russell Chun, Assistant Professor, JRNL, MS, PR
  • Victoria Semple, Associate Professor, JRNL, MS, PR
  • Kara Alaimo, PhD, Associate Professor, JRNL, MS, PR
  • Josh Castronuovo, Student
  • Adeline Davis, Student
  • Iris Louis-Charles, Student

Vision Statement

The Herbert School is creating a culture in our classrooms and hallways that embraces diversity, equality, and inclusion as fundamental to achieving academic excellence and personal growth. By keeping lines of communication open, and ongoing collaboration with other units on campus, it is our hope to move the needle and inspire positive change.

Featured Events

The Other Pandemic:  Systemic
Racism and the Impact of the COVID-19
Crisis on Communities of Color on Long Island
A Virtual Town Hall
June 17, 2020

Inclusive Q-mmunity - November 22, 2019

Inclusive Q-mmunity LGBTQ+ Awareness and Advocacy Training for the Herbert School’s Faculty, Administrators and Staff
November 22, 2019

Suburban Diversity Dinner 2019

The Celebration of Suburban Diversity 2019 Banquet
November 12, 2019

The Legacy 1619-2019
Living on Long Island While Black:
The Suburban Search for Justice
Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

 

School Achievements

In early Fall 2018, the Herbert School’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee (“D&I Committee) conducted a School-wide climate survey for students, staff and faculty, an initial step in attempting to gauge the current atmosphere vis a vis race, gender, religious and cultural biases, and to begin the important conversations needed to address these issues at many levels.

Also in the Fall semester, the LHSC held an anti-bias workshop for the staff and faculty of the School, the first in what the School hopes will be a series of workshops in the coming semesters. The goal of this workshop series is to improve the student experience in the classroom and in the other social spaces of the School, but also to develop strategies for recruitment of both students and faculty from under-represented communities. These workshops are something the School is committed to continuing as an ongoing process in the coming years.

In the Spring of 2019, on April 17, The LHSC D&I Committee hosted a Student-led Town Hall, “We Hear You, Let’s Talk,” which was set up to serve as a springboard for some of the initiatives the committee is committed to working on in the 2019-2020 Academic Year.

The Town Hall included 41 student participants throughout the course of the session, and 26 members of the faculty and staff. There were many important recommendations made by students at the end, (the transcripts of those recommendations are available upon request). While we have heard feedback from some students that they wanted concrete answers from the Deans Office related to specific questions and issues that were raised, the objective of this first Town Hall was to allow students to voice their concerns in an open forum and to shed light on their experiences.

The LHSC D&I Committee met at the end of the semester, accompanied by Cornell Craig, Hofstra University’s new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, who also attended the April 17 session. At the committee meeting, it was recommended that in the 2019-2020 academic year, the LHSC conduct a number of smaller focus groups involving faculty, administrators, staff and students to take on some of the specific issues raised at the Town Hall (and in the LHSC Climate survey conducted in the Fall). Committee members, including all the student participants, feel focus groups will be more effective in addressing these issues and finding common solutions, as opposed to these larger, open-ended forums.

Committee Principles

To this end, the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee seeks to create and maintain a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion by adhering to the following four principles:

  • Actively seek out and encourage diverse populations to become productive members of the faculty, staff and student body.
  • Incorporate throughout the curriculum and co-curricular activities an affirmation of the value of diversity, inclusion, equity and multicultural perspectives.
  • Foster and support a climate in which events and activities of the School exemplify diversity of awareness, sensitivity to, and support for diverse populations, groups and individuals.
  • Maintain a work, learning, creative and social environment that is cognizant and supportive of diversity of human experiences, and to confront inherent bias in all its manifestations.

2019-20 at LHSC