School of Drama Philosophical Statement on Equity in Education

UNCSA Drama holds equity as a core value in our institution.

UNCSA Drama recognizes that many communities are subject to systemic oppression, be they categorized by race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background, socioeconomic status, physical ability, or neurological difference. We recognize as an institution that the identifiers listed herein will evolve as we learn more about each other and ourselves. 

We know it is our responsibility to become as knowledgeable as we can about forms of oppression and how they have become institutionalized in every facet of our society, but especially in approaches to theater training and higher education as a whole. 

UNCSA Drama is committed to collective liberation of all oppressed individuals and communities. We see the eradication of all forms of oppression as a defining principle of our mission as a training and educational institution. We recognize that investing in a widely representative student body, faculty and staff enhances the training of the artist and the power of our storytelling. 

UNCSA Drama understands that equity is integral to making the art we want to see. Theater has historically favored a privileged, white, cisgendered, male, abled, heteronormative narrative and we are committed to challenging and pushing against this tradition by all means necessary. This commitment is one of many essential steps to work toward and achieve a safe and unbiased environment at UNCSA and therefore join many members of the theatrical community in the process of building a new and equitable foundation in the art form.

UNCSA’s top priority is to foster a sense of trust between students, faculty and staff that encourages everyone to bring forward their most authentic selves and therefore their most authentic art. We are committed to creating safe spaces that do not silence or repress any individual or community. UNCSA Drama is fundamentally changing aspects of the program that perpetuate discriminatory behavior, through such acts as the excavation of internalized biases as well as assessing the revered systems and techniques of theatrical training that cater to privileged, white, cis, male, abled bodies. 

We commit to hold ourselves accountable and continue to work, as an institution and individually, on our conscious and unconscious actions that create unsafe classroom environments.

ACTION ITEMS: (Or How To Cultivate the School We Want)
UNCSA Drama holds fast our core value of Educational Equity when recruiting new members of our community.

UNCSA Drama is continuously reevaluating and revising our curriculum to decenter white, cisgendered, heteronormativeness in our pedagogy. We actively seek out a diverse library of texts, music, choreography, etc., in carrying out its curriculum. 

UNCSA Drama is committed to the continual and perpetual practice of reevaluating and enacting policies that create an equitable, compassionate and safe space to work for everyone. 

So far that work has included:

  • Adding pronouns for every Drama student on all class lists 
  • Opt-in/-out policy for casting around sensitive content (E.g., nudity)
  • Microaggression reporting forms (with an option for anonymity) in which the student has the agency and support to decide how they want to move forward. 

What is currently underway includes:

  • A Bechdel-Wallace test for season selection. The committee is using the name Humanization test. 
  • A form for what students want to be, or not be, considered for in casting based on how they identify and want to be represented.

UNCSA Drama embraces the failures and messiness that may be encountered as we communicate with each other. We believe that conflicts are opportunities to further our pursuit of empathy and that the work of implementing social justice practices is difficult, but imperative.

UNCSA Drama is committed to providing as many resources as possible to assist in any research that members of the community may need to help educate themselves about histories, viewpoints and experiences different from their own. 

UNCSA Drama is committed to supporting all individuals — students, faculty and staff — in accomplishing their goals and will do everything in our power to accommodate for differences that might reveal themselves as obstacles to those goals.

October 25, 2023