Muhlenberg Student Writes Letter Regarding Racism in the School's Theatre and Dance Departments, Sparking Changes
According to Muhlenberg Weekly, student Maereg Garbretekle was not satisfied with the school's response to the ongoing racism in America, specifically the response from Charles Richter, professor of theatre and dance. On June 4, she sent a letter to the theatre faculty addressing her concerns, which included several hundred signatures from Muhlenberg community members.
The department responded to Gebretekle's letter, taking responsibility for "the very real harm done to students, faculty and staff by the Department's longtime failure to adequately adopt anti-racist practices, and for our complicity in systems that perpetuate white-supremacy."
A series of statements followed, including the department's step-by-step plan to combat the issues discussed in the letter.
On June 17, theatre and dance students received an email from the department with a four-part action plan for the future, which included revamping the current theatre curriculum for the incoming Class of 2024, and requiring those students to take "at least one course about minoritized or marginalized theatre/performance traditions." In addition, the department plans to reevaluate their plans for shows and guest artists, to create a more diverse lineup, and they will recruit more BIPOC and establish diversity committees. Also, two Theatre and Dance Anti-Racism Advisory Councils will be formed, one group for students and one for alumni.
A Zoom discussion will be held by students on Friday, June 19, at 6 p.m. to further discuss the department's response to Gebretekle's letter.
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