Our Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The USC Thornton School of Music recognizes the powerful role music plays in elevating the human spirit and in uniting diverse languages, cultures and communities. While actively fostering intellectual and creative exploration, innovative approaches, and connections with the world, USC Thornton also recognizes that it is imperative at this time for musicians and scholars to acknowledge systemic racism and the historical exclusion of marginalized peoples in music and to do the work of reconciliation and repair that is required of us. 

As a school, we therefore commit to:

  • Honoring the experiences of Asian, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Multiracial and all People of Color by creating a culture of learning, listening, and change that recognizes and then uproots all forms of exclusion and oppression.
  • Critically engaging in the work of educating ourselves about White Privilege, White Supremacy, microaggressions, issues of cultural appropriation, and racial inequalities in both Thornton and global contexts.
  • Preparing students to create and perform the music of the past, present, and future from a socially and politically-engaged, critically-informed, and community-driven perspective.

Specific strategies in which we are actively engaged and will continue to pursue:

  • Create practices, policies, and organizational changes that support and reflect the values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Consistently and sincerely acknowledge in formal meetings, public concerts, written statements, and on webpages, of the Tongva and other Indigenous Peoples, who for thousands of years stewarded the land that USC and the Thornton School now occupy.
  • Comprehensively examine the Thornton School curriculum from a social, racial and historical perspective with the goal of intentionally deconstructing Western cultural hegemony in all resources and materials.
  • Engage with local communities by collaborating with, learning from, and sharing with the rich diversity of cultures in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
  • Aggressively dedicate resources, including financial resources, to the ethnic and racial diversification of faculty, students, staff, and administrators.
  • Include student representation and voice in continuous conversation.
  • Build a LGBTQ+ affirming culture “free from sexism, misogyny, and male‐centeredness.”
  • Activate and sustain mandatory anti-racist bias training for all students, faculty and staff.
  • Hold ourselves – students, faculty, staff, and administrators – resolutely accountable for recognizing racist acts and attitudes, and for creating a culture that recognizes and affirms the experiences of BIPOC, gender-minority, and all other marginalized peoples.

To these ends, we will foster and sustain an on-going dialogue between the Dean of USC Thornton, Dean’s Cabinet, Department Chairs and other faculty leaders, the Thornton Faculty Council, the Thornton Staff Council, the Thornton Student Council, and the Thornton Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee, with regular evaluation of our progress and regular development of our initiatives.

Implementation and Accountability

The JEDI Committee will develop a multi-year framework that encompasses these strategies. Individual Departments and Divisions are and will continue to develop their own specific plans and will report annually on progress made towards achieving our collective goals.

Individual faculty and staff will, as part of their annual review, account for the work they have done each year towards achieving justice, equity, diversity and inclusion at the USC Thornton School of Music and in the world beyond.