Statement on Community Values
As a global community of artists continuously redefining what it means to be an arts college, the Vermont College of Fine Arts community has come together to articulate this statement of values on diversity, equity, and inclusion. These values express our dedication to the tenets and ethics of social, economic, and environmental justice, anti-racism, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, and religious inclusivity. We reject all forms of othering and oppression, including colonialism, misogyny, ableism, ageism, classism, nationalism, paternalism, and white supremacy.
The arts are central to the human experience and have the ability to not only reflect reality but create it. We acknowledge that, too often, the histories of arts disciplines have been presented as canonical, monolithic narratives, constructed and controlled by dominant voices that systematically exclude and marginalize other cultures and peoples. We seek to discover, celebrate, and learn from a plurality of traditions and movements as we renounce singular canons and the biases underlying them. In this way, we aspire to inform richer, more encompassing futures that accurately reflect the varied peoples these disciplines serve, as well as the varied peoples who practice them.
We believe that everyone should have access to the opportunities and tools for expression and communication afforded by the fine arts, and that society is best served when all voices are heard and valued.
- We believe in the fundamental value of every person and recognize that each person in our community belongs fully, as an equal. Diversity in all its forms creates a strong, healthy, and productive environment that reflects the world we live in and the reality we aspire to create.
- Each member of our community has both rights and responsibilities. Among these is the right to be treated with respect at all times and the responsibility to treat others with respect at all times, along with that of educating ourselves about what this means. It is not the responsibility of any individual from a marginalized group to educate others about their experience.
- We honor the agency of each person to be seen and heard, to defend their rights, to think critically and independently, and to uphold their responsibilities to the community and its individual members. The possibility of disagreement between individuals or groups is intrinsic to the exchange of ideas, and the exchange of ideas is fundamental to teaching and learning. We are committed to the principle that disagreement and respect can and must remain compatible. As an embodiment of these values, we are committed to open and ongoing dialogue.
- People learn in different ways, and we strive to support each learner on their unique journey. We believe in an educational model where all community members—faculty, staff, and students—actively contribute to both teaching and learning, even as we acknowledge the inherent power differential within every teaching and learning environment.
- We value a workplace where all staff members actively contribute to the mission of the college. While the roles of staff members may differ, we value them equally.
We welcome all who agree to abide by these values, as we look forward to listening, learning, and growing together in pursuit of an ever more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.