Statement against racism
Dear UMass Dartmouth students, colleagues, and campus community members,
In an ongoing context of racist violence in college and university settings, the Department of Crime & Justice Studies at UMass Dartmouth continues to condemn all forms of racial and ethnicity targeted violence. In particular, two events this semester led to the creation of this statement. First, the email sent to students on the campus of UMass Amherst in September was an abhorrent display of violence that has no place in an educational institution. Second, the 3 November email notification from the Chancellor regarding a racist incident on UMass Dartmouth’s campus that week and the need for the University to respond more swiftly to identity-based violence.
As a department concerned with the myriad forms of oppression that hinder justice, it would be remiss if we did not address the racisms that continue to plague our own campuses. Our unrelenting rejection of racism is integral to the core of our departmental values and to the larger goals of justice. CJS Faculty do not simply teach anti-racism, we embody in our scholarship and in our pedagogy. We are committed to the dismantling of a society entrenched in white supremacy. Fundamental to this dismantling, particularly in academia, is the refusal and remedying of hostile educational environments. As faculty, we are accountable to fostering more critical and just classroom spaces grounded in anti-racism, and we are invested in supporting student activism and their lived experiences.
To students, staff, and fellow colleagues across the University of Massachusetts system: We support you.
To Black and African Diaspora students, staff, and fellow colleagues at UMass Amherst and UMass Dartmouth who were targets of racial violence: We are in solidarity with you.
To everyone in our classes and on our campuses, who demand justice and an end to racial violence: We rise up with you to work together.
Institutions are accountable to its community members. We offer the following as sources of institutional support to members of our campus community who are impacted by this violence:
- UMass Dartmouth Care Network
- UMass Dartmouth Bias & Hate Resources
- UMass Dartmouth Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
- UMass Dartmouth Diversity Resources
Additionally, for allies and those committed to equity, we implore you to review the following resources on how you can support your peers and demand justice from your campus administrators
Resources for Understanding, Identifying, Confronting, Disrupting and Dismantling White Supremacy
- Resources for Understanding, Identifying, Confronting, Disrupting, and Dismantling White Supremacy
- System of White Supremacy and White Privilege
- White Supremacy Culture Resources
Reading for Racial Justice
The CJS Committee Against Racism and the Crime and Justice Studies Department
CJS Global Pandemic Health Justice Statement
In this current context of COVID-19 and the ongoing global pandemic, the Department of Crime and Justice Studies is most concerned with questions of health justice and creating a variety of justice conditions and flexibility that best support students, faculty, and staff in navigating our educational and curricular experiences.
Fundamental to the curriculum of the Department of Crime and Justice Studies is our commitment to creating accessible classrooms and community engagements that reduce risk and harm and are “safe” and flexible to the greatest extent possible given our current global pandemic and the disruptions of illness. For that reason, we have collectively developed a curriculum structure that both upholds the CJS justice focused curriculum and classroom objectives and is in alignment with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s COVID-19 Plan for “online and blended learning.” This plan allows for the most engagement and the least anxiety by instituting a blended framework that balances both online-virtual engagements and in person instruction and activities.
More specifically, the UMD COVID-19 Plan prioritizes ADA, health, and safety. In doing so, it acknowledges that “social distancing requirements may mean that very large sections cannot be accommodated on campus and should be designated for distance learning” and “the consideration of face-to-face teaching [should be] in rooms large enough for social distancing.” As many of you know, LARTS classrooms do not allow for proper social distancing and thus blended, synchronous, and remote classroom instruction is encouraged for large and medium courses, seminars, and honors courses due to the institutional constraints.
The definition of a blended classroom is a class that will meet face-to-face for some portion, and will also meet remotely online, or synchronously online, but all potential meeting times (be they synchronous or face-to-face) will be identified and accounted for on the schedule. Blended classes may also alternate between face to face and online instruction and will include a location. The instructor will determine precise meeting times and modalities and share this information with the class.
The COVID-19 Global Pandemic CJS curriculum will adhere to the following:
- Wearing masks while inside buildings, offices, and classrooms (in addition we also encourage wearing masks outside while in larger groups). This has also been mandated by the University.
- CJS office hours and meetings with faculty will be held via Zoom, unless agreed upon by both student and faculty to meet otherwise
- CJS has online, synchronous, and “blended” designations (please see above “blended” definition). CJS faculty have created curriculum surveys for students within our classes to gather information and develop the best blended structure for each of our classrooms. Please take the time to fill these surveys out, and we will do our best to center our key aims – learning, stability, and safety – as we configure our class plans. Many of our assigned classrooms do not have the dependable capacity to Zoom students into class for a split-schedule hybrid format, so we are doing our best to work around that.
- Limit contact by distancing while in the classroom; please utilize sanitizer and handwashing when coming into the classrooms. Please note that the University has not yet instituted contact tracing plans and crowd limits on campus.
- Note that Inside-Out courses will be fully remote this semester; the Bristol County Jail is not doing in-person programming at this time.
- Virtual internships continue to be encouraged and available, please speak directly to your internship professors.
- Most importantly, please stay in direct communication with your professors, advisors, and chair of the department. Flexibility in this context is key and your feedback, questions, and insights help us to create curriculum experiences that attend to the question of health justice and the reality of all of our shared lives.
While we do love being in class in person, a large part of the reason that we love it is because we consider our classes to be our community, and it is exactly because of that that we do not want to put any of us at risk. So many of us - faculty, staff, and students - live with and want to be able to spend time with people close to us who may be particularly vulnerable, or we may be particularly vulnerable ourselves, and we want to account for that reality. Another reality that we would like to account for is that while vaccines and masks are required for many people on campus, our courses are often full, and assigned to rooms in which we are nearly at or fully at maximum capacity, with no ability to distance and with little to no airflow or ventilation.
For these reasons, we ask all students registering in CJS classes to read the above with care and an open mind, and to enter each term with the same vigilance we have adhered to within this pandemic thus far. As time goes on, and as COVID variants grow and change, we cannot allow ourselves to lose sight of the realities and dangers we still face. We will get through this together by exercising patience, compassion, and continuing to apply and adhere by the COVID survival guidelines we have learned and applied over the past year and a half; and above all else, we must continue to care for each other’s needs and accommodate the realities of the most vulnerable amongst us. We will get through this together because an air-borne virus demands collective consciousness and a heightened awareness of the manners in which our lives and deaths are inter-related.