Press Releases

AICAD stands with HBCUs against violence and intimidation

AICAD stands with HBCUs against violence and intimidation

California Institute of the Arts President Ravi Rajan has signed the Association of Independent Colleges of Art + Design's strong statement rebuking the recent, horrific bomb threats agianst the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Unviersitys (HBCUs). The statement, AICAD STANDS WITH HBCUS AGAINST VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION, was released today and signed by AICAD President and Executive Director Deborah Obalil and 31 additional higher education arts leaders.

Shockingly, many historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have received bomb threats this year. According to multiple reports, over 20 HBCUs were subject to a bomb scare between January 31 and February 1, the first day in the month-long celebration of Black history and heritage. While none of these threats have proved credible, harm has nevertheless been caused that we must not fail to recognize.

The member institutions of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a nonprofit consortium of the leading specialized arts and design schools in the US and Canada, agree with Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, who wrote clearly and directly, “These threats are despicable.” We are deeply concerned about the consequences of this disruption and intimidation for today as well as tomorrow. Immediately, many schools needed to temporarily suspend classes, sweep their facilities for explosives, and extend internal and municipal resources to increase security. Left unopposed, this bullying may disrupt the sanctity of the educational environment, intimidate those who learn, work, and live at colleges, imperil the creation of knowledge, and endanger the incubation of emergent leaders for the long term. The perpetrators’ bigoted targeting of Black institutions, people, and ideas is hateful and dangerously divisive; moreover, it is anathema to the vision AICAD member institutions have for higher education and the society everyone shares.

In 2019, we adopted the AICAD Statement of Principles on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This commitment acknowledges “that structural, systemic, historical, and intersecting forms of oppression require our ongoing attention, action, innovation, and leadership for positive change,” that “thinking and making requires the full embrace of diversity, equity and inclusion,” and our duty is to provide “learning environments and communities within which all can succeed.” Achieving this goal requires us to oppose racist threats and protect opportunities for students, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups, to thrive. It’s the right thing to do for today as well as tomorrow. As laboratories of creative expression and the built environment, arts and design schools know that a plurality of voices, variety of experiences, and full range of humanity makes for a richer culture, bolder ideas, and a better world.

Deborah Obalil
AICAD President and Executive Director
Joe Girandola
President, Art Academy of Cincinnati
Elissa Tenny
AICAD Board Chair, and President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Lorne Buchman
President, Art Center College of Design
Daniel Doz
President, Alberta University of the Arts
Stephen Beal
President, California College of the Arts
Ravi Rajan
President, California Institute of the Arts
Jeffrey Morin
President, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
Don Tuski
President, College for Creative Studies
Sanjit Sethi
President, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Melanie Corn
President, Columbus College of Art and Design
Kurt Steinberg
President, Montserrat College of Art
Raymond Tymas-Jones
President, Cornish College of the Arts
Cecelia Fitzgibbon
President, Moore College of Art and Design
Gretchen Wilkins
Interim Dean, Cranbrook Academy of Art
David Sprouls
President, New York School of Interior Design
Jean Dahlgren
President, Delaware College of Art and Design
Charles Hirschhorn
President, Otis College of Art and Design
Gillian Siddal
President, Emily Carr University of Art and Design
Rachel Schreiber
Executive Dean, Parsons School of Design
Tony Jones
President, Kansas City Art Institute
Eric G. Pryor
President & CEO, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Steven Brittan
President, Laguna College of Art and Design
Michael Molla
President, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design
Amy Green Deines
Dean, Lesley University College of Art and Design
Frances Bronet
President, Pratt Institute
Laura Freid
President, Maine College of Art and Design
David Proulx
Interim President, Rhode Island School of Design
Samuel Hoi
President, Maryland Institute College of Art
Larry Thompson
President, Ringling College of Art and Design
Mary K Grant
President, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Jennifer Rissler
Dean, San Francisco Art Institute
  David Yager
President, University of the Arts