June 5, 2020
Dear Students, Parents, Alumni and Friends,
We are grateful for the many candid reactions from our community to the letter which you received from us earlier this week regarding racial injustice and the recent horrific deaths of several Black citizens. Unfortunately, there is a long history of anti-Black racism in our country and, as much as we would like to think otherwise, the Peddie community has suffered from this as well.
Peddie has plenty to be proud of in its history, but our motto defines our daily priority: to begin anew. At no time has this been more important than now. Because we are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary in order to ensure that we are an inclusive, safe and welcoming community for all of our students and adults, we are establishing a framework for work that will continue far beyond this fraught national moment.
This summer, Peddie will conduct a search for and name a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). This faculty member will assist Peddie’s leadership, employees and board of trustees in enhancing our focus on issues that affect our marginalized students. Peddie will also create a DEI Committee of school leaders, students and alumni who will work toward those same goals. The Director of DEI will chair this committee.
Another immediate priority (even while we are interviewing candidates) will be to help identify and implement effective professional development for all Peddie employees. Additional speakers will be added to the fall faculty meetings (which take place before the start of each school year) to provide enhanced education for our faculty. Ongoing training and support programs will be developed to span the school year.
As a member of the curriculum committee, the Director of DEI will work closely with department chairs to enhance the diversity of the curriculum. In addition, the Director will work with the student life and counseling offices with the goal of providing more candid conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, and a more supportive environment.
School leaders will be holding a series of listening sessions with students, parents, colleagues and alumni in the coming weeks, following up on conversations that have already begun taking place during this past week. These sessions will be held via Zoom and will be a forum for sharing ideas and experiences.
These steps are just a beginning. Working with the new Director of DEI, the school will identify and implement additional programs to ensure that all of our students and adults are supported. We join all those who are working for justice, and for an end to racism, bigotry and hate. These goals are entirely consistent with being good citizens; indeed, we cannot be the school we are meant to be and not embrace them.
We are listening and we are working to do better.
Peter A. Quinn
Head of School
Chair, Peddie Board of Trustees