A Letter from Head of School Dr. Bynum

Dear Hopkins Community,

As the protests have continued across our nation and the world this week, I have listened to stories from generations of Hopkins community members who have been hurt by the very place they should be able to turn to for healing and hope. I thank members of our school community for having the courage to come forward. I know we can do better. This moment in history has brought important issues into focus and further fueled our commitment to mobilize our efforts to realize meaningful change.

In my previous letter, I pledged to strengthen our mission to teach our students to be caretakers of each other, regardless of color, and to continue examining ourselves as an institution for flaws where hurt may have not been rightly recognized and addressed. We intend to do just that. In our 360 Strategic Plan launched this past fall, we developed goals and objectives to guide the school in doing more in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. While we have made progress, we have also concluded from our conversations and reflections of this past week that we need to dig much deeper, be more comprehensive with our plan, present a clearer outline of our action, and keep our community updated on our progress. As Head of School, I commit Hopkins to undertake the following initiatives towards creating a more equitable community where all students can thrive:
  • We will re-examine our curriculum to incorporate a social justice lens, de-center Anglo-European voices, and elevate all voices. This will also include a race and representation audit in our English and History Departments. Additionally, we will create a new interdisciplinary course on social justice.

  • We will continue to invest in financial aid so we can enhance the socio-economic diversity on our campus. We commit to awarding a minimum of $5 million in aid in the coming school year, and increase that aid each year moving forward. 

  • We will establish a Fund for Social Justice, which will provide annual grants to projects in four broad categories: student research, activism and internships, campus-wide events and speakers, and long-term programs with community partners.

  • We will implement the recommendations outlined in a comprehensive report produced this year to improve the recruitment and retention of faculty of color. Key objectives of the report include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for hiring committees, an equity audit, and utilizing new recruitment networks.

  • We will provide training and professional development to all employees (administrators, faculty, staff, and coaches) on cultural competency and culturally responsive teaching practices. We will also evolve our disciplinary process to include restorative justice practices.

  • We will encourage and support our Student Diversity Board, along with our affinity groups on campus (Black Latinx Student Union, Asian American Association, Students United for Racial Equity, Sexuality and Gender Advocates, and the Multi-ethnic Student Association) to create more spaces for association, affirmation and connection. We will also support our Employees of Color Affinity Group, as well as our faculty and staff Coalition for Anti-Racist Educators.

  • We will more publicly and explicitly recognize the history surrounding the founding of the School, including the role slavery played in that history. We will examine this history and include our findings at hopkins.edu.

  • We will work with the Hopkins Black Alumni Network (HBAN) to create more spaces for alumni to connect, promote mission focused programs for the school, and deepen the mentor relationships with our current students.

  • We will work with our new Director of Community Engagement to strengthen Hopkins’ partnerships and relationships with the City of New Haven through targeted educational enrichment programs and community outreach.

  • We will expand Pathfinder, our after-school and summer outreach and educational enrichment program focused in New Haven and Bridgeport, so we can broaden our impact on the children in the greater New Haven area. The four-year, tuition-free program currently serves 120 students. We will devise a plan to fund a minimum of 200 students within five years.
With the support of our Office of Equity and Community, the work to implement these initiatives is underway. Given the feedback and constructive conversations we’ve had as a community this week, we will also refocus our strategic plan to incorporate these efforts. I look forward to consistent engagement with the community at-large to evaluate our progress together.
 
Again, I commend those who are shining a brighter light into the inequalities and injustices that exist within our community. I love our Hopkins community, and I know you do as well. Please feel free to email me directly at headofschool@hopkins.edu to share any thoughts you may have. I will do everything possible to bring about meaningful change at our storied institution. I invite you to join me in being a part of this important work.

Sincerely,
Kai Bynum
Head of School
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