Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

The School of Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California is committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment for the community that it serves, including students, staff, and faculty. An academic and artistic community such as that of our school must embrace divergent backgrounds and historically underrepresented groups in its pursuit of higher learning and its vision of the arts as a human endeavor in which mutual respect and collaboration are integral.

The School of Dramatic Arts (SDA) recognizes that a diverse and inclusive climate neither organically comes into being nor sustains itself by chance or by positive thinking. Diversity and inclusion require intention – conscious efforts to value the inter-reliance of human life and the environment; to acknowledge and embrace qualities and experiences that are different from our own; and to recognize that the lack of diversity and inclusion sustains privileges for some while creating disadvantages for others. SDA recognizes that our individual and collective commitment to diversity and inclusion must be proactive and mindful.

SDA acknowledges that, as an educational facet of a major research university, our commitment to the education of all of our students must be integral to our foundation. SDA appreciates that true understanding and inclusiveness among individuals and groups, and recognition of perspectives that are in contrast from mainstream viewpoints, must be respected and valued as much as commonalities. SDA acknowledges that integrating diversity and inclusiveness into every dimension of dramatic arts education is essential to building and maintaining a community of learning including, but not limited to, curriculum, faculty, staff, students, production, casting, and utilization of guest artists.

Diversity and inclusion can help students, faculty, and staff learn to engage with each other more broadly and deeply, which helps ready them for involvement in a progressively multifaceted world rife with perspectives and practices that are as varied as their sources. SDA strives to acknowledge and cultivate diversity and inclusion in its education, academic services, productions, and administration, including upholding constructive school and work environments where the similarities and divergences of individuals are appreciated and respected.

Prejudice, ethnocentrism, stereotypes, blaming the victim, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are not conducive to diversity and inclusion in SDA or in our increasingly diverse society-at-large. Confronting one’s biases, respecting fundamental differences, and dismissing stereotypes are part of the mindfulness that must be embraced in order to eliminate barriers and enhance the human condition.

We are deeply committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion at SDA and, with appropriateness and legalities in mind, will strive to carry out this commitment with regard to variances in culture and circumstance including gender, race, ethnicity, age, language, disability/ability, sexual orientation, class, region, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

[October 21, 2015]