June 19, 2020 — A message from Head of School Brian Hargrove and Dean of Equity and Social Justice Martha Neubert:
Northfield Mount Hermon should be a place where every community member feels seen, heard, valued, and loved — and we acknowledge that has not always been the case, particularly for our BIPoC students and employees. We apologize to those hurt in the moments and eras when our institution failed to live up to our mission and ideals.
There are systemic inequities that frame our culture and our school. We have been intentional in our work to become a more culturally responsive school. And yet we acknowledge this work is incomplete and requires ongoing commitment. As protests have continued throughout the nation and as we have held NMH community conversations over the past three weeks, we are hearing people share their often painful truths.
Storytelling is powerful. Whether it is through a direct email to the NMH administration; posting on the independent, student-run @blackatnmh Instagram account; or connecting with us over the phone, we invite NMH community members to share their stories. We are listening and organizing our efforts to move our school forward in effective ways. We have begun collaborating on the themes emerging from the seven listening sessions offered for NMH students, employees, and alumni. We will continue to offer weekly discussions throughout the summer with the intention of having a specific set of action steps, shaped by community input, developed by early fall.
While we know this moment requires collaboration across the community, the NMH administrative team presently is focusing on ongoing evaluations of curricular offerings and graduation requirements, hiring and retention policies, student enrollment practices, faculty evaluation processes, and professional development expectations.
NMH will work to stand together against racism, the hate it foments, and the violence it perpetuates. We will not get it right at every turn. In fact, we know we will get it wrong along the way and that there is messy, uncomfortable, and necessary work ahead of us as a school. Any meaningful structural change takes time. We recommit ourselves to critically examining our school policies, and to thoughtfully developing practices and initiatives that will move NMH forward as a more just and equitable community.
For more information, contact: