06.17.21 | Dear Students: Equal justice & recognition matter

Dear Students,

I’m writing to share an important step toward equality announced yesterday by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). In a notice issued publicly, the Department clarified that Title IX (a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education) also applies to discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

What does this mean? The announcement reaffirms that all students have the same rights and deserve the same protections under the law. For LGBTQ+ students in particular, it’s a clear statement upholding your right to learn and thrive in an environment free from discrimination.

While this is a significant shift for the federal government, Columbus College of Art & Design’s policies have and will continue to prohibit all forms of discrimination, and our Title IX policy will be updated to reflect the Department’s notice. It’s not lost on me that this decision comes during Pride Month—a time when we pause to honor the resilience and determination of the LGBTQ+ community.

In another landmark step this week, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation that will soon make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, and its inclusion as an annual day to recognize the continued struggle for equality and justice for Black Americans is long overdue.

While these actions are far from all that we need to address the continued inequity and discrimination in our society, I am struck by what they mean in this moment. At the start of the social reckoning that began just one year ago, it was hard to imagine either of these steps happening. But, today, I feel more confident that we are on a path toward equality and equal justice as a nation.

And, here at CCAD, we will continue to be a community that strives to foster an environment of Intentional Inclusivity where each of you feels valued and respected as a human and as a creative.

Let’s celebrate this small moment together!