March 3, 2021
Subject: Message to RJTF and Subcommittee Members – Research Survey
Good evening Racial Justice Task Force, and Subcommittee Members, Colleagues, and Friends,
Earlier this week many on campus — and beyond — became aware of a survey prompt developed as part of a psychology research class project. We are choosing not to share the prompt as part of this message as we do not want to contribute to further hurt and pain that this question has elicited most immediately from our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members of color. In the many conversations over the last few days, we know that this hurt and pain are shared across the campus. As Co-Chairs of the Racial Justice Task Force, this is a clear reminder to us of why President Clark formed the RJTF and why our work is essential.
While we fully support and endorse participatory research and inquiry within the classroom and community as well as action research designed to help our students develop the skills and experiences necessary to become the next generation of researchers, innovators, and problem solvers, we also recognize and appreciate research that fully acknowledges the humanity of those who actively participate and are subsequently impacted by these efforts. We value the partnerships and mentorships that develop between our students, faculty, and staff and over the years we have seen the results of these varied projects showcased during campus research forums as well as at state, national, and even international convenings. These excellent activities can represent the best of Bridgewater State University.
As you are aware, the RJTF is charged with reviewing policies and practices that are impeding racial justice and racial equity at BSU. As part of this process, we must also scrutinize how BSU’s research practices, systems, and structures designed to ensure adherence to rigorous standards also ensure a primary research principle, across all disciplines: that we do no harm.
The RJTF was convened in response to the voices of our black and brown students and alumni who took the time to share their worries, their frustrations, their hopes, and their dreams for a stronger, more equitable, and inclusive BSU. The work of the RJTF is grounded in the values of honesty, truth, empathy, dignity, unity, and equity. We will not let our students down and we will be true to our values. In so doing, we will reenforce the values and mission of the University and we will continue to serve, engage, and support all of our students and our BSU community.
We will be seeing many of you on Friday at a regularly scheduled RJTF meeting where we will discuss this further and get your thoughts and input as one of our agenda items. We will also be joined at our meeting by Provost Ismaili for that part of the meeting.
Many thanks to all of you for your tireless commitment, your passionate work, and your optimism about what is possible if we do this important work together.
Have a good evening and please, continue to stay well and safe,
Trustee, Bridgewater State University
Dr. Mary Grant
Senior Administrative Fellow for Civics and Social Justice
Dr. Carolyn Petrosino
Professor Emerita of Criminal Justice
Co-chairs, Special Presidential Task Force on Racial Justice