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Lehman College

Reply to Students’ Call-to-Action

The Lehman College SLPs 4 BLM and the Lehman College Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences invite you to participate in a Listening and Learning Forum on Monday, August 24th from 6 to 8 pm.  Zoom link will be posted prior to the event for those who wish to attend.

We are calling all witnesses, bystanders, and/or victims of racial discrimination or bias at the Lehman College SLHS department. We appreciate your support to our Call-to-Action.  At this time we are collecting data to prepare for our students-alumni-faculty listening and learning forum as noted in the "Reply to Students’ Call-to-Action" issued by the Lehman College SLHS Department.  Please note that the data that you provide to us will not be shared without your consent and can be shared anonymously if you choose to do so. Please submit this form by August 15th to share your experiences.

In unity and solidarity,

-LC SLPs 4 BLM

We thank our students for bringing to our attention issues in our department that contribute to the lack of diversity within the program and the wider discipline. We acknowledge an urgent need for change. We recognize the necessity to eliminate inequitable practices that have resulted in trauma to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and People of Color (BILAPOC) in our department, compounding the existing silent barriers to access to school or professional experiences.  These practices continue beyond college and contribute to racism and the diminished representation of the BILAPOC community within our field.

The faculty of the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences condemns all acts of racism and bias. Inspired by our students, the Faculty and Staff of the department are committed to meaningful and long-term systemic changes in policy, practices, behaviors, curriculum, and any systemic barriers to success and diversity within the faculty and program. Together with our students,  we will enact a plan aligned with our mission to provide equitable access to education and opportunities for underrepresented minority students within an atmosphere of inclusion and respect while we work to ensure an anti-racist culture and social practice in our program and professional interactions.

While recognizing the long-term changes that are needed, we are taking the following immediate actions to address several of the concerns of our students.

  • The department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences adopts the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework of the New York State Department of Education which includes these principles:
  • Welcoming and Affirming Environment
  • Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment
  • High Expectations and Rigorous Instruction
  • On-Going Professional Learning and Support
  •  We established a Diversity and Equity Committee as a standing committee inclusive of students and faculty to establish goals, outcome measures, and a timeline to address the issues put forth by the students in their Call-to-Action open letter. As part of this work, we will create a mechanism for students and other members of the Lehman community to report microaggressions experienced both on campus and offsite in a safe space for everyone.
  • We will hold a listening and learning forum at the start of the Fall 2020 semester for members of our community to share experiences they have had in our department.
  • All faculty will engage in training at the start of the Fall 2020 semester to address anti-racism in our department in the areas of implicit bias, microaggressions, and white privilege.
  • We plan an intensive curriculum review to ensure that faculty have adopted an inclusive curriculum in their courses of resources written and developed by racially, culturally and linguistically diverse perspectives including primary research articles on treatment and diagnostic protocols that include people of color. We anticipate that changes will be integrated into the curriculum in Spring of 2021 and that a full year will be needed for a thorough curriculum and literature review.
  • Although NYS law mandates that any program leading to teacher certification includes GREs in the admission process, we are reviewing the admissions process for graduate applicants including the weight given to GRE scores due to the established bias of standardized testing.  In addition, we have received approval for a BA to MA program which will recognize and elevate students already in our BA program to complete their MA at Lehman.  This program will admit the first cohort of students Spring 2021.

These actions are just the beginning of a realignment of the department and the undergraduate and graduate programs to effect long-term systemic changes in policy, practices, behaviors, curriculum, and the identification and elimination of systemic barriers to success and diversity within the faculty and program.