Letter of Support for Black Lives and Commitments to Our Students

Dear DMA Community,

In this moment, we want to state clearly that the Department of Design Media Arts stands against the continued acts of police brutality in Los Angeles and across the nation. We are sickened by the ongoing injustice against Black people, and acknowledge our own complicity in systemic racism. We have quietly ignored it for too long. Going forward, we commit to the anti-racist work needed to dismantle these systems, and commit to the ongoing learning and practice this work requires.

We add our voices to the concerns raised by the Executive Committee of Concerned UCLA Faculty, the Black Grad Student Association, and the Afrikan Student Union and demand:

  • UCLA leadership provides a detailed public statement of the LAPD’s use of Jackie Robinson Stadium and issues a public letter to Chief Moore demanding an explanation and compensation.
  • UCLA leadership affirms that LAPD will not be given use of UCLA facilities in the future.
  • UCLA follows the lead of other public universities such as the University of Minnesota and ends its relationship with the LAPD and other county, state, and federal police departments.
  • The defunding of UCLA PD and the reinvestment of funds in underserved campus communities.
  • The immediate creation and funding of a black resource center at UCLA.

We have also listened to you, our students, and taken a hard look at our department. We know that we have been failing, and we see the impact those failures have had on you. We have a long way to go toward making this a supportive learning environment for Black, Indigenous, POC, queer, trans, sick/disabled, and low-income students. The work begins with us, the DMA Faculty, and the steps outlined below for this Fall are the first on a much longer path toward building a more inclusive, safe, and equitable space together.

  • Pledge from all the faculty to participate in undoing racism training.
  • Reevaluate our “canon” and decenter white and western voices.
  • Commitment to at least 50% of special topics courses each year specifically addressing diversity, equity, and social justice.
  • Introduce a new “Design, Disability, and the Internet” course into the curriculum for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Renew efforts for outreach and recruiting of students from underrepresented minorities, especially among local LA schools.
  • Find funding for and provide at least two funded spots in the DMA Summer Institute for the next five years, and hopefully beyond.
  • Search for ways to subsidize Fab Lab, Print Lab, and equipment checkout services, and reduce fees.
  • Develop accessibility guidelines and implement them for DMA spaces, websites, and all public events.
  • Create new scholarships for students from underrepresented groups.
  • Develop mentorship and support systems for students including job placement, portfolio development, and life after school.
  • Reevaluate our curriculum and the pathways it provides.

We recognize that these are just a few of the many changes that need to happen. We also know that we will make mistakes along the way. We’re grateful for your patience. We welcome your feedback on current problems and changes we might make via this form. We are also reviewing your many helpful responses to the student survey and the town hall. Thank you for your generosity in helping guide the DMA community.

We pledge to do better, and redouble our will to create a better department and a better future. We ask that you join us in this goal as we look for ways we can hold ourselves and each other accountable.

In solidarity,
The Faculty of Design Media Arts

  • Christian Moeller
  • Lauren Lee McCarthy
  • Casey Reas
  • Rebeca Méndez
  • Eddo Stern
  • Peter Lunenfeld
  • Chandler McWilliams
  • Jennifer Steinkamp
  • Willem Henri Lucas
  • Erkki Huhtamo
  • Victoria Vesna