Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies

Black Lives Matter: CRES, Anti-Racism, and Reconciliation at Reed

Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with movements in Portland and throughout the world that demand not one more Black life be stolen by police violence and systemic racism. We recognize protestors are putting their bodies on the line in the context of a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting non-white communities, especially Black and Indigenous communities. In this moment of both mourning and possibility, the Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies (CRES) program committee affirms our commitments to our Black students, colleagues, and communities. Reed is an institution that values faculty autonomy in the classroom, but the classroom is not separate from student life on and off campus. Our students cannot be safe in the classroom if they are not safe in the world at large.

CRES is a program that was brought into being through the demands of a Black-led multi-racial coalition of students and faculty for a dedicated course of study that critically engages with issues of race and ethnicity. It is the legacy of a long history of protests that challenged institutional racism at Reed, including the 1968 protests that led to the short-lived Black Studies program; Diversify Reed in 2014–2015; and Reedies Against Racism in 2016–2018.

Aware of our history, the CRES Committee urges the college community to take the following steps towards repairing the effects of institutional racism at Reed.

The CRES Committee will take up the following work during the 2020–2021 academic year:

  • Center Black Studies in our 2020–2021 CRES colloquium;
  • Create the option for students to attend the Colloquium for credit;
  • Strengthen our relationships with SEEDS and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities in Portland;
  • Strengthen our relationships with the MRC and BIPOC students on campus.

We call on Reed College as a whole, its administration, and academic departments to meaningfully address institutional racism by:

  • Working with the CRES Committee to create a long-term plan for the CRES program, including specific commitments to hire and support more faculty, including voluntary redesignation of lines in departments and pursuit of funding for additional lines;
  • Funding a dedicated student program assistant position to conduct research, assist with programming, and liaise among CRES, the Office of Institutional Diversity, the MRC, SEEDS, and student groups;
  • Allocating funds to support student research on race and racism;
  • Dedicating physical space for programs so that we can better bridge academic, student life, and Portland community worlds;
  • Creating a strategic plan to guide anti-racism and diversity efforts at Reed towards concrete and achievable goals, including commitments to strongly encourage hiring and supporting BIPOC faculty as well as review procedures around reporting and adjudicating racial bias;
  • Providing support for a deeper investigation of and engagement with the history of race and racism at Reed to lay the foundation for broader reconciliation and reparation. This could include support for community-engaged work and ongoing student-led projects like the Reed History Project.

We envision these calls as concrete steps towards anti-racist and anti-imperialist futures at Reed and beyond.

The CRES Committee
July 7, 2020

Supporting statements

As a constitutive department of the CRES program, the Department of Anthropology affirms its commitment to the program and its calls for anti-racism and reconciliation.  See the Department of Anthropology Statement Against Police Violence and Anti-Black Racism for commitments and resources specific to Anthropology. 

The Sociology Department affirms its commitment to the CRES program and its calls for action. As colleagues, friends, and members of the local community, we call on Reed to center the physical, mental, and emotional safety of our BIPOC students, staff, and faculty as we plan for the new academic year. As teachers and scholars, we call for institutional initiatives that prioritize anti-racist research for students, staff, and faculty. 

As constitutive departments of the CRES program, the Dance, Theatre, Music, and History Departments affirm their commitments to the program and its calls for anti-racism and reconciliation.