July 23, 2020
Dear BB&N Alumni/ae:
Wherever you may be located during these challenging times, I hope above all that you are healthy and well. I write to update you on the two BB&N topics most on my mind this summer.
We Stand Together
As I wrote to you earlier this summer, our community—particularly our students, faculty, and staff of color—continues to be deeply impacted by the persistent, appalling racism that plagues our society. This hits very close to home, as our students and alumni/ae of color are telling us powerfully about their experiences at BB&N in the “open spaces” we have hosted and on the student-led
Masks at BB&N
Instagram page. It is very clear that far too many of our students and alumni/ae of color have experienced racist, homophobic, and hurtful behaviors during their time at BB&N. And for that, as the Head of School, I am truly sorry.
I am grateful to our Board of Trustees, who approved my request a year ago to create a robust Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Global Education (DEIG) Office that spans all three campuses and deepens our commitment to this foundational work of addressing anti-racism and centering equity and inclusion throughout our community. Last fall, the Board also approved the inclusion of DEIG efforts as one of the five principal objectives that define BB&N’s Strategic Plan for the years ahead.
Having this six-person staff in place is empowering us to make a difference in ways we couldn’t before. The way we hire new faculty and staff is just one powerful example. Integrating the DEIG team into our interview process has paid great dividends. Over just the past two months, we’ve hired a Chief Learning Officer, a Director of Enrollment Management, and an Institutional Researcher who all bring a powerful commitment and personal connection to DEIG work. I recommend you read about these new members of our team in the monthly
. For that matter, I also highly recommend that you
to the newsletter to keep apprised of what’s happening to support diversity, equity, inclusion, and global education efforts at our school on a monthly basis.
However, I recognize that those who want change are not just asking, “What has happened so far?” but even more so: “What are the next steps that will move BB&N forward?” A few initiatives are being planned that will launch soon. The first of these is both advocated and led by students. This Saturday at 1:00PM, the organizers of Masks@BB&N will be leading a rally starting at Cambridge Commons and marching to BB&N. You can
refer to their post
for more information about the event. DEIG Officer Leila Bailey-Stewart and I fully support their efforts, and we look forward to receiving their proposal about how to make BB&N stronger when we attend the rally on Saturday.
This fall, we will pilot a mentorship program that pairs students identifying as Black or Latinx with alumni/ae who are Black or Latinx. Our hope is to expand this program to our Asian and LGBTQ+ students in the future. For the time being, we are starting on a smaller scale to ensure that we can establish a meaningful and sustainable program. If you are a graduate who identifies as Black or Latinx and are interested in joining this mentorship program, please contact
, Community Outreach and Engagement Specialist, or
Brianna Smith ’10
, Assistant Director of Alumni/ae Programs, for more information.
We have added an informative
Alumni/ae of Color Network
hub within the Alumni/ae section of our website. As our Alumni/ae of Color (AoC) Network plans future communications, events, and activities, it is helpful to know who might be interested in participating. If you are an alum of color and wish to be part of the AoC Network, please fill out our
so we can ensure you are included in future communications.
These are just early steps that the school and our students and alumni/ae are taking. I acknowledge that we have a lot more work to do, and we are committed to doing it in a way that invests our entire community in the effort, because that process embeds the magic that makes change truly authentic and lasting. We plan to write to you again before the summer is out, so please keep communicating with us and telling your story in whatever forum you feel most comfortable. We are listening. And we are acting, and will continue to act in a sustained, strategic, inclusive manner.
Planning for the beginning of school
The second topic keeping all of us very busy these days is our planning for the safe, responsible, and equitable opening of school in September. We are building three models, which range from all students coming to campus each day, to a hybrid approach where each day features some students learning on campus and some learning remotely from home, to fully remote. We will be sharing our full plan with our community on August 1st. A few highlights from our work include:
- We’ve created a new temporary position at the school this year, which we’re calling Knight Corps. It’s an initiative focused squarely on our young alumni/ae who are recent graduates (HS/GED/College) and who have an interest in education. We plan to hire up to 20 individuals to provide support to faculty with organizing and facilitating virtual and on-campus classes and activities during the Covid-19 pandemic. I believe this is a great win-win opportunity that has emerged from these challenging times. We have shared the job description directly with alums from the past 10 years and have also posted it more broadly. Please feel free to share the job description.
- I am so incredibly proud of the way our community has committed to support those who are struggling with the impact of the pandemic. As of today, well over 300 parents, alumni/ae, and faculty/staff members have donated a total of $545,236 to our uKnighted Community Fund.
- We have been very happy to create Enrichment and Activity Camps for children during this summer when so many of the typical options for kids are so restricted. We have many openings over the next several weeks and would like to offer any BB&N alumni/ae whose children might have interest in the chance to register for Enrichment Camp offerings for free—you can use the code ENRICHMENTSUMMER2020 to register.
I hope you and your families all remain safe and healthy this summer, and I look forward to being in touch with you later in August.
Dr. Jennifer Price
Head of School