RISD Anti-Racism Coalition (risdARC) is dedicated to combating our institution’s prolonged history of anti-Blackness, marginalization, and discrimination along with the intersections of global systems of oppression affecting our community. We support and advocate for the needs of all students of color regardless of ethnicity, race, disability, gender, or sexuality.

Response of Architecture Department

June 30 2020

Written By:
Amy Kulper, Department Head
Carl Lostritto Graduate Program Director

Sent to:
RISD & Race Forum Speakers

Dear Jada and Sarah,

We are writing to thank you and the members of your powerful cohort of student advocates for your thoughtful intervention, and for holding the Department Heads, Graduate Program Directors, Deans, Provosts, President, and Board of Trustees accountable for the ubiquitous presence of systemic racism at RISD. As Matthew Shenoda said in a recent meeting with the department heads, this is not a problem we can fix, it is a culture we must change. Acknowledging this, we first want to apologize. We have failed our BIPoC students at RISD, and we will continue to fail if radical and systemic changes are not implemented. These changes require our attention and effort at multiple scales: at the immediate scale of individual faculty members in our syllabi and pedagogy; at the departmental scale in our curriculum, our critiques, and our culture; and at the institutional scale in myriad protocols, policies, and committees that preserve the status quo and eschew, obstruct, and obscure the critical contributions of our BIPoC faculty and students.

We want to honor your efforts and advocacy, not with words, but rather with actions. Within the department, we have responded to the leadership of the RISD NOMAS (the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students) chapter with actions and initiatives you can find here. Across RISD, I have worked closely with Lucy Hitchcock, Leora Malz-Leca, and Heather Rowe to articulate unqualified support for our BIPoC colleagues’ letter to President Somerson and to draft a Declaration of Values and Actions that was voted upon on June 29, 2020 and unanimously supported by all RISD Department Heads.

Your advocacy has brought us all to an institutional turning point. We will hold ourselves and our faculty colleagues accountable for implementing systemic cultural change across RISD. Thank you for your leadership.


Amy Kulper + Carl Lostritto
Department Head + Graduate Program Director
RISD Architecture

View PDF Document Here.