Advocacy

August 14, 2020

A Message from the Director

Dear all,

It is difficult to believe that three years have passed since I joined the Institute of Fine Arts as Director. It has been a rewarding time, but also a challenging one in many ways. I believe we have made progress on several issues of key concern to our community. These include our response to the crises caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, and what actions we should take to establish a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. Many of you have offered your views, criticisms, and ideas for ways to create an explicitly anti-racist environment within our institution, and more broadly in our society. I would like to acknowledge and thank those of you who have advocated for change, and who continue to ask for a specific action plan. The Institute’s faculty and administration are listening, and engaging in a process of reflection. Achieving lasting transformation of our institution will require a long-term commitment to racial justice and gender equality, and we will continue to work on this. There are also more immediate actions we can take.

Read more of the Director's recent statement

June 3, 2020

Statement of Solidarity

To the members of the Institute of Fine Arts Community,

This has been an especially painful week, filled with horrifying news and images that are now seared into all of our memories. We have witnessed yet another brutal murder of an African American, George Floyd, following the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. This has caused enormous pain, suffering, and rage within the Black community, which is shared by all those who support justice, equality, freedom, and peace for everyone. At this time when the outbreak of the coronavirus has disproportionately affected people of color and other vulnerable groups, demonstrating the disastrous effects of systemic racism, we should be working together to create an egalitarian and just society. We stand in solidarity with all those who fight against racism and police brutality.

The Institute of Fine Arts at NYU was founded largely by émigré professors fleeing violence and oppression in 1930s and 40s Europe. We continue to support this tradition and denounce the persistence of racism in its various forms, including attacks on people of Asian descent who have been subjected to abuse and discrimination since the outbreak of Covid-19.

In the light of recent events, our teaching and public programs will give renewed attention to issues of racial injustice and violence, and we will continue to foster communication and other activities that focus on these important issues.

Sincerely,
Christine Poggi
Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director

September, 2017

Letter From NYU President Hamilton to President Trump Urging Him to Preserve DACA

Dear President Trump,

I write to urge you to keep in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As an educator, I can attest to the vibrancy, talent, and ambition that the Dreamers bring to the classroom, the laboratory, and the campus. Their story is, in fact, a genuinely American story: they have earned their places on our nation's campuses through merit and hard work. And as an immigrant myself, I can attest to their love of country, their embrace of its values, their desire to contribute to its welfare, and their hope to see it live up to its highest principles.

Read more of President Hamilton's statement on DACA

August, 2017

ON RACE AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES
A Collective Statement by Medievalists of Colour

Medieval studies is increasingly acknowledging realities of race and racism in the profession—reflected in everything from the call to recognize that racism is inherent in the very use of the term “Anglo-Saxon”; to Richard Spencer and the so-called alt-right’s cooptation of Western European medieval studies to buttress their white supremacist ideology; to concerns about the exploitation of Hawaiian culture in the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists’ conference currently underway in Honolulu. These issues have arisen most visibly since the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in July 2017 with individual and collective calls for structural change in the profession and its culture.

Read more about the state by Medievalists of Colour

November, 2016

Public Statement from the Society for Classical Studies

The mission of the Society for Classical Studies is “to advance knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the ancient Greek and Roman world and its enduring value.” That world was a complex place, with a vast diversity of peoples, languages, religions, and cultures spread over three continents, as full of contention and difference as our world is today.

Read more of the Public Statement from the Society for Classical Studies