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Our Commitment to Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion

The faculty, staff, and student employees of the Emory Writing Center are committed to combating racism and other forms of oppression while fostering equity and inclusion on campus and beyond. We pursue these commitments through our tutoring, hiring, professional development, programming, and community partnerships.

Words have power: power to oppress, power to resist, power to express, power to inspire. We aim to empower writers of all races, places, socioeconomic classes, gender identities, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, citizenship statuses, abilities, and linguistic backgrounds to grow and share their unique voices while respectfully engaging the voices of others.

We outline below some of the concrete actions we are taking to advance anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Writing Center. We welcome input and invitations to collaborate from Emory students and community members as we pursue this essential work.

Note: This page was last edited in August of 2020.

Recruitment and Hiring

  • We know that we serve the Emory community best when our staff includes students with diverse backgrounds and competencies in a range of languages, dialects, and discourses. We will therefore continue to invite leaders and members of numerous multicultural student organizations to apply for tutoring positions (a practice that has resulted in multiple applications and hires in recent years).
  • We will also continue to invite all students who have been tutored in the Writing Center to apply for positions as tutors (a practice that has resulted in an increase of applications from international students and students of color in recent years).
  • We want every member of our staff to contribute to our anti-racism, equity, and inclusion mission. In our broadly distributed hiring ad and job description for Writing Center tutors, we will therefore continue to emphasize multilingualism and experience supporting language learners as preferred qualifications and prioritize those skills in the hiring process. For future hiring cycles (beginning with hiring for tutors who will join our staff in Fall of 2021), we will also:
    • Add “commitment to anti-racism, equity, and inclusion” to our list of minimum qualifications and discuss this commitment with candidates during information sessions and interviews.
    • Add “experience with racial justice work” and “experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion work” to our list of preferred qualifications and place a high value on these experiences as we screen applicants and make hiring decisions.

Professional Development and Tutoring Practice

  • We will continue to train tutors to advance anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Writing Center and to provide tutors with opportunities to reflect on their tutoring practice in relation to these commitments. Specific topics we’ve addressed in past years that we will continue to address in the future include:
    • Respecting diverse tutor and writer identities in the Writing Center
    • Affirming and supporting writers working in and across multiple languages and varieties of English (including Black English)
    • Supporting English language learners in ways that acknowledge and draw on their strengths as multilingual authors
    • Identifying and confronting subtle forms of oppressive language
    • Using and modeling gender-inclusive language
    • Intervening as bystanders to confront oppressive behavior
  • In our practicum course for new tutors and in other professional development forums, we will increase our engagement with scholars of color as well as scholars from other marginalized populations. We will also invite an African American writing center studies scholar from another institution to engage our staff in an online conversation during the Fall 2020-Spring 2021 academic year and will compensate this scholar for their time. (We are waiting to release the scholar’s name until we confirm their commitment.)
  • We will continue to support student expression in multiple languages and projects that mesh multiple languages, dialects, and registers. We will also continue to make it easy, via our appointment system, for students to select tutors based on their languages and/or their status as English Language Learning specialists.
  • We will continue to require Emory Office of LGBT Life-facilitated Safe Spaces training for our faculty and staff administrators and to encourage this training for our tutors. We may also work with the Office of LGBT Life to develop and implement a Safe Spaces training tailored to our staff.
  • We will invite staff from the Emory Office of RACE and/or the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to facilitate, co-facilitate, or consult with us on an anti-racism training session that we will implement with our full staff in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021.
  • We will encourage and pay tutors to attend a September 18, 2020 online forum on “Race and The Writing Center” sponsored by the Georgia chapter of the Southeastern Writing Centers Association.
  • We will build on the momentum of our summer 2020 tutor-led staff reading group on anti-racism in writing centers by sharing texts, reading notes, and ideas generated by the group with our full staff and by implementing suggestions from this group (some of which are already reflected on this page). We may also continue the reading group during the academic year and/or during the summer of 2021.

Physical and Online Spaces

  • We will continue our efforts to create an inclusive environment in our online spaces by:
    • Emphasizing our commitment to anti-racism, equity, and inclusion on our public website and social media forums.
    • Adhering to the inclusive pronouns policies and procedures we developed in 2018 in consultation with the Emory Office of LGBT Life.
  • We will expand our efforts to create an inclusive environment in our online spaces by:
    • Developing and implementing (during the 2020-2021 academic year) a new respect and inclusivity policy for tutors and writers, and sharing this policy on our website and in email appointment reminders.
  • We will continue our efforts to create an inclusive environment in our physical space by:
    • Arranging our furniture in a way that adheres to and goes beyond legal accessibility requirements in order to accommodate students with a range of abilities and body types.
    • Providing physical and online tools that support the needs of students with a range of accessibility needs and learning styles.
  • We will expand our efforts to create an inclusive environment in our physical space by:
    • Posting our new respect and inclusivity policy in our physical space.
    • Displaying artwork by students of color, Indigenous students, and LGBTQ+ students in our physical space.

Programming and Partnerships on Emory Campus

  • We will continue to promote the Writing Center broadly through our website, social media platforms, fliers, syllabus language, class visits, residence hall programming, and other means in an attempt to reach all students.
  • We will continue facilitating a workshop each February for students working on Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship application essays, with support from MMUF faculty and staff administrators and current fellows.
  • We will continue co-sponsoring and co-hosting at least one International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) lunch for Emory international students each year.
  • We will continue to support Office of RACE and Office of LGBT Life graduate student writing groups by facilitating workshops for those groups and/or through other avenues.
  • We will continue and expand collaborations with ISSS, the Office of RACE, the LGBT Life Office, Accessibility Services, the MMUF program, the English Language Learning Program, language departments, and other Emory offices, departments, and programs that nurture diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • We will continue and expand collaborations with the BSU, Blackstar*, and other multicultural student organizations on campus. In past years, we have co-sponsored events highlighting multilingual writing and celebrating Black writers. We would like to develop more joint programming, publications, and research initiatives with these organizations in the future. We will also seek out new ways to listen to and learn from members of these groups (without exploiting their labor), and we will seek out concrete ways to support the mission and initiatives of these organizations.
  • In all of our collaborations with student organizations, campus offices, and academic units, we will strive to bring an attitude of openness, humility, and willingness to learn while also offering input and resources of interest and benefit to our collaborators.

Programming and Partnerships in the Broader Community

  • We will continue to develop and implement meaningful, reciprocal, ethical partnerships with groups in our city and region, focusing on marginalized and underserved populations. (Past partnerships have included Lee Arrendale State Prison, Freedom University, Maynard Jackson High School, and Cross Keys High School.)
  • During the 2020-2021 academic year, we will continue and grow our current partnership with the adult program at the Emory Autism Center.
  • We will continue to be active participants in the Anti-Racism Special Interest Group of the International Writing Centers Association and in local, regional, and national professional forums focused on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion.

Assessment and Accountability

  • We will continue, via our online appointment system, to collect demographic data regarding race, ethnicity, and language from students willing to disclose it, and we will do targeted outreach to student populations underrepresented in our space.
  • We will continue to welcome informal input and to conduct formal research projects whereby we listen to student perspectives, including perspectives from students of color and international students, and to take concrete actions in response. (Some of our current programming and professional development activities came directly from suggestions offered in past years during a focus group based study with Black students and during multiple survey and interview based studies with international students.)
  • We will publicly share about and invite constructive input on our anti-racism, equity, and inclusion work, including by updating this web page at least once per year.