In response to systemic racial injustice, the need to reaffirm UPP’s commitment to anti-racist practices, and the specific concerns of many in the UPP community, including students, alums, and faculty, around departmental priorities, procedures, and pedagogy, department chair Prof. Joseph P. Viteritti, in consultation with the department’s governing body (the Personnel and Budget Committee, whose members include the directors of UPP’s three degree programs), the full faculty, and GUAPA, has established a Racial Justice Working Group, comprising five full-time faculty, two students, and two alums.
The faculty serving on the Working Group are Professors John Chin (chair), Matthew Lasner, Karina Moreno, Lily Pollans, and Sigmund Shipp. The student members are Hafizah Omar (MSUPL student) and Lorrayne (Lola) Vieira-Sullivan (MUP student and GUAPA officer). The alums are Dr. Calvin T. Brown (MUP 2002), Assistant Commissioner for Neighborhood Development at the New York City Department of Small Business Services, and Amina Hassen (MUP 2016), Senior Urban Planner at WXY Studio.
The Working Group, which will convene throughout the 2020-21 academic year and issue periodic updates, will serve as a hub for conversations among the faculty, between the faculty and students and alums, and between all UPP stakeholders and the college around urgent issues including recruitment of BIPOC students and instructors, the needs of BIPOC students, and program curricula.
The Working Group’s efforts complement those already underway by Hunter College’s Presidential Task Force to Advance Racial Equity. This Task Force was appointed over the summer by President Jennifer Raab to effect college-wide improvements in recruitment and admissions, curriculum, anti-racism training, and student support and pipeline programs, and to host public programs, such as the ongoing Speaking of Justice series. Two UPP faculty, Professors Vivian Louie and Sigmund Shipp, also serve on this Task Force, along with two UPP alums, Dr. Calvin T. Brown and Caitlin Ho (MSUPL 2016), Program Director for HCAP: the Hunter College AANAPISI Project.
The department has created the Racial Justice Working Group in acknowledgment of the critical need to achieve equity in the department, college, fields of urban policy and planning, and the wider community.