Provost forms Ad Hoc Committee on Arts, Culture, and DEI, charged by Reif

Committee to submit recommendations to provost by December 2021

Provost Martin Schmidt PhD ’88 announced the creation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Arts, Culture, and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in an April 8 email to the MIT Community.

Schmidt appointed Institute Community and Equity Officer John Dozier and Associate Provost Philip S. Khoury to co-chair the committee. The full membership of the committee includes over 20 faculty, staff, postdoctoral candidates, and graduate and undergraduate students from across the Institute.

The committee was first charged by President L. Rafael Reif in a July 1 letter announcing efforts to address systemic racism at MIT. In the letter, Reif wrote that the committee would be created to “recommend artistic and cultural responses that will affirm and inspire” the MIT community.

Schmidt further charged the committee to “conduct an audit” of artistic and cultural projects at MIT that “speak to racial equity, social justice, or both;” that “explore or celebrate the diversity” of the community; or that “amplify work by artists who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color.” These projects can be initiated by MIT faculty, students, or staff and may be ongoing, in development, or proposed for the future.

The ad hoc committee will additionally identify resources, funds, and a process to support and commission the described projects, as well as “suggest platforms and timetables” to present the projects to the MIT community.

The committee will also work to create programs “to recruit artists of color and broaden the diversity of artistic talent” at MIT, examine MIT’s campus “as an artistic expression” of its values, and recommend ways to deepen understanding of the Institute’s history.

In addition, the committee will coordinate with the Institute’s development of a strategic action plan for DEI, the community and culture workstream of Task Force 2021 and Beyond, and other relevant MIT committees and student groups to “incorporate elements of their work” into the committee’s recommendations.

The committee will fulfill its charge by submitting recommendations to Schmidt by December 2021. Schmidt is “optimistic” that the committee’s work will “imagine new possibilities for artistic and cultural contributions to racial equity at MIT.”