Statement of Solidarity - Communication Studies

June 12, 2020

There are moments that call for pause and moments that call for action. This past Saturday, we heard our students demand not just solidarity but action. 

The Communication Studies Department commits to take action on both personal and professional levels. We stand in solidarity with our Black and African American community and hold ourselves accountable for becoming actively anti-racist as individuals and as an institution. As Ijeoma Olou writes, “When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else's oppression, we'll find our opportunities to make real change.” 

We commit to the following practices as first steps toward eliminating institutional racism within our campus community:


  • Maintain a safe, supportive environment through advocacy, compassion, active listening, and valuing the individual experiences of our communities of color.
  • Promote and support civic engagement and voting. 
  • Advocate on behalf of students experiencing racism and support them through the grievance process. 
  • Encourage the development of anti-racist change agents in our institution.


  • Examine and enrich our existing curriculum to add a diversity of voices and encourage our students to find their own voices so they can better communicate — through words, speeches, films, and photographs — issues of importance to their lives. 
  • Create a resource bank of speeches, articles, and visual media that reflect the needs and perspectives of diverse and underrepresented voices in the culture and our campus community for use in department curriculum. 
  • Introduce new courses exploring the intersection of race, gender, and class in our culture, including three new media courses planned for next fall: “Media, Identity, and Culture,” “World Cinema,” and “Media Criticism”
  • Support and advocate for expanded ethnic studies courses across disciplines. 


  • Devote time during departmental professional development days to engage in ongoing equity, diversity, and anti-racism training. 
  • Create a fall semester community of practice to examine and discuss literary and visual texts pertaining to anti-racism, white privilege and fragility, and the Black and African American experience.
  • Examine student demographic data on enrollment, attrition, and student success to make better-informed pedagogical and curricular design decisions.
  • Maintain a standing department agenda item to continue to address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within our department.

We wholeheartedly believe that “all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.” We pledge to support our communities of color now and in the future.

Sent on behalf of The Department of Communication Studies 

Michael Traina
Chair, Communication Studies
Director, Petaluma Film Alliance