Note: For alumnae attending this weekend's 90th anniversary events, please respect the wishes and privacy of current residents and refrain from questioning them on this topic during your visit and during the HERAA Annual Business Meeting. HERAA acknowledges alumnae will have concerns. We will host one or more conference calls later this spring or early summer for alumnae to discuss questions about HERAA’s long-term efforts, described in the statement below. HERAA is available by email and phone in the interim.
Dear Harriet E. Richards Cooperative House alumnae,
It has come to our attention that a recent HER House resident left the House earlier this semester due to upsetting experiences of racism and marginalization in the HER House.
Upon learning of this situation, the Harriet E. Richards Alumnae Association (HERAA) met and continues to engage with this former resident and with several other current residents, including House leadership, to gain a fuller understanding of events leading up to the resident moving out of the House; to learn how HERAA can support individuals who have experienced racism while living in the House; and to assist in building a community of trust, equity and accountability among residents.
Over the coming days and weeks, HERAA will be seeking to determine how we, an Association dedicated to the long-term sustainability of cooperative living at Boston University, can try to address former and current residents’ concerns and contribute to ensuring future residents live in a House that both espouses and practices diversity, equity and inclusion.
HERAA’s actions in the short-term will be guided by the desires of affected continuing residents. These conversations and actions are ongoing. HERAA intends to protect the privacy of the residents regarding the specifics of the situation.
HERAA’s actions in the long-term will be enacted in collaboration with HER House residents and student leadership. HERAA is interested in engaging with Boston University on these issues.
Recognizing racism and marginalization occurs within a larger societal and institutional context, HERAA is discussing the following ideas with House residents:
- Reviewing the manner in which residents currently have recourse to address racism and white supremacy, inequity, hurt, harm or other wrongdoing, whether through HER House student leadership, Boston University Residence Life, or HERAA.
- Evaluating other current House practices, such as House leadership nominations and the current interview process for HER House residents, to ensure alignment with equity and inclusion.
- Articulating and documenting the HER House’s commitment to cooperation in a more robust code of conduct that address core values of communication, equity, inclusion, respect, and accountability.
- Instituting annual anti-racism and community-building workshops for HER House residents.
Ultimately, HERAA takes these issues raised by residents very seriously. We wish to ensure current and future residents are confident they are entering a safe, supportive, inclusive space. We will work in partnership toward this goal, recognizing that the responsibility rests with residents, Boston University and HERAA to establish these conditions both within and outside the gates of the HER House.
Rebecca Martin, HERAA President, Class of 2007
On behalf of the HERAA Board