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Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Established in 2017, USC Thornton’s Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee (J.E.D.I.) works to advance our school’s commitment to equity in our classrooms, concert halls and community. The following provides an overview of the work currently in progress at the school in the areas of equity and inclusion at Thornton.

Our Commitment

At the USC Thornton School of Music, we see the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion to be intrinsic to, not separate from, our ongoing quest for excellence in music and music education. The incredible breadth of the music represented within the Thornton School is one of the many factors that make us so unique. That breadth is thanks to the diversity of voices who have found an artistic home at our school since our founding.

USC Thornton—its faculty, staff, students and leadership—together recognize that there is much work to be done to correct inequities within music education, the music profession, and our school, and commit ourselves to creating meaningful change. With collective action and clear goals, we will seek change at every level to become a more equitable and inclusive school of music. Together we will create a culture of authentic belonging where our students can grow, learn, and thrive.

Action Plans

In the spring of 2017, USC Thornton developed a five-year diversity, equity and inclusion plan and continued to mark progress in established priority areas. This year, in a series of Town Halls and listening sessions across the school, our faculty and students expressed bold new visions for how the Thornton School can better embody these principles. With the collective visions of our faculty, students and school leadership, USC Thornton continues to develop new strategies and measure progress in key change areas such as curriculum, faculty recruitment and retention, student recruitment and retention, and the climate for BIPOC students at Thornton. 

Dean Robert Cutietta has tasked each division, department, and program within the school to commit to serious investigation of their own culture, curriculum and programs and establish individualized action plans. That work is ongoing. As those plans become developed and finalized we will add them to this site.

Also watch this page for upcoming events sponsored and co-sponsored by the J.E.D.I. Committee that contribute to Thornton’s ongoing engagement with the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. 

The Voices Fund

There has been a call to diversify the faculty and increase the number of full-time faculty of color at Thornton. We have made great strides in our diversity efforts in hiring new faculty in the past years, but USC has instituted a university-wide hiring freeze for at least one year as it attempts to deal with the negative financial ramifications of the pandemic. Therefore, USC Thornton has launched The Voices Fund. Faculty from across the school can request funding to bring voices of underrepresented, historically marginalized groups to their classes. A committee of faculty and students led by faculty member Ronald McCurdy will review these requests to assure they are distributed across the Thornton School and meet the goals of bringing open conversations about music, inclusiveness, and the profession.

University Resources

  • USC Office of Equity and Diversity: A central resource for submitting reports of incidents involving assault, discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics in which the respondent is a faculty or staff member.
  • USC Office of Professionalism and Ethics: A central resource for submitting incidence of protected and non-protected class complaints.
  • USC Title IX Office: Responds to complaints related to assault, discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics in which the respondent is a student.
  • USC Race & Equity Center: Home to a dynamic research and organizational improvement center that works with professionals in educational institutions, corporations, and other contexts.

Who We Are

The Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee was first formed in the spring of 2017. Current members of the committee are:

Andy Abad
Instructor, Popular Music

Daniel Allas
Student, DMA in Music Composition

Jeffrey Allen
Associate Professor of Practice, Popular Music

Lina Bahn
Associate Professor of Practice, Classical Music and Composition

Christian Chico
Departmental Coordinator, ARTL, MTAL and J.E.D.I.

Lucinda Carver
Vice Dean of Division of Classical Performance and Composition

Kenneth Foster
Director, Arts Leadership Program, Committee Chair

Michael Garcia
Chair, Music Industry Program

Justin Gilmore-Gresham
Student, BM in Jazz Trumpet Performance

Sean Holt
Vice Dean of Division of Contemporary Music

Beatriz Ilari
Chair, Music Teaching & Learning

Brittany Jimenez
Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission

Rebecca Lawrence
Student, MM in Double Bass Performance

Cindy Montes
Human Resources Manager (ex officio)

Karen Parks
Associate Professor of Practice, Vocal Arts and Opera

Errol Rhoden
Student, BM in Tuba Performance

Justus Ross
Student, MM in Violin Performance

Rick Schmunk
Chair of Music Technology

Aaron Serfaty
Lecturer, Jazz Studies

Tram Sparks
Associate Professor of Practice, Choral and Sacred Music, Conducting

Vivian Stover
Student, BM in Vocal Arts

Mark Weiser
Director, Undergraduate Music Theory Program