Statement about Final Black History Month Concert Flier

February 28, 2021

Communications Staff

A reflecting pond covered in snow in front of the Conservatory's Bibbins Hall.
The Conservatory reflecting pond.
Photo credit: Yvette Chen

On Sunday, February 28, we posted a flier on social media to promote the last event in our month-long Black History Month celebration. While the program showcased Black composers, the flier featured only photos of the five white performers. We acknowledge wholeheartedly that this was problematic, and we accept and agree with the many critiques we have received in response.

This event was just one of many in the spectrum of our Black History Month celebration events found on this website, of which we are very proud. The events sponsored by both the College and Conservatory this month are a reflection of our commitment to the work of diversity and inclusion. For additional information about the Conservatory-specific programming that took place as part of this year’s Black History Month celebrations, please read this story: https://www.oberlin.edu/news/conservatory-honors-black-history-month-through-concerts-and-more.

We acknowledge that it was a mistake to post this event out of context, and without pictures of the composers themselves, and we are deeply sorry. We will continue to be reflective and consider our policies moving forward in order to prevent a post of this nature from happening in the future.

Oberlin College and Conservatory takes seriously its commitment to a more equitable and diverse educational experience. The Conservatory issued the following statement last year—endorsed by the Conservatory Faculty Council, the Conservatory Educational Policy Committee, and the Conservatory Faculty—that reflects this important work in the world of music: https://www.oberlin.edu/dean-of-the-conservatory/racial-equity-diversity-action-plan

As President Ambar wrote in her Declaration of the Presidential Initiative on Racial Equity and Diversity, "This commission will work to evaluate our current programming, look broadly across our curriculum in both the College and Conservatory, review our hiring practices, and examine divisional and departmental climates to identify areas for mission-centeredness and policies/practices that elevate our long-standing commitment to equity. This work will reflect the times and the issues that George Floyd’s murder invoked. This work is now more critical than ever as we look both internally and externally.” For more information, please visit: https://www.oberlin.edu/about-oberlin/presidential-initiative-racial-equity-and-diversity.

While these words guide our work always, this is clearly a day on which we misstepped. We want you to know that we hear you, and we will do better.

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