Music Department Antiracism Task Force

Music Antiracism Task Force header image.

Luther College is engaged in ongoing work to study, disrupt, and do our part to address the disease of racism and to seek justice, equity, and peace.

President Ward charged each department at Luther College during the academic year 2020-21 to initiate a review of program requirements, outcomes, and course content using the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

On Thursday, October 1, 2020, the Music Department faculty voted unanimously to create a music antiracism task force to take on this charge. Consisting of faculty, staff, and students, the group meets weekly to study the intersection of racism and music, and to make policy recommendations to the music faculty. An advisory board with a  broader constituency of students and faculty also meets regularly and serves as a sounding board for the members of the task force.

The task force has the following goals:

  • Conduct listening sessions with students, alumni, faculty and staff about the student experience of racism in the music department and barriers to participation for BIPOC students.
  • Evaluate current recruitment pathways and barriers to recruitment, participation and retention of prospective BIPOC students in the music department, and make policy recommendations to the faculty based on information collected.
  • Review the music program curriculum, using the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion, to ensure that non-Eurocentric musical styles, traditions, and practices are valued and taught. Make curriculum revision recommendations to the faculty based on information collected.
  • Propose to the faculty new language for the departmental mission statement to reflect the department's commitment to antiracism work.

The task force members believe that the first step of antiracist work is to hear from members of the Luther community, as systemic racism affects us all. We recognize there are demands for change and for voices to be heard; to this end, the task force serves as a line of communication between students, alumni, and music faculty. As the task force listens to the community and studies the issues, we will develop policy recommendations to present to the music faculty for discussion and a vote.

Systemic change takes time. Members of the task force are committed to sustained, long term work toward creating a more equitable department. Current students and alumni are invited to contact members of the task force with any questions, comments, and suggestions for consideration. Anything shared in this manner will be kept confidential between members of the task force.