An Apology From the President

AUGUST 8TH, 2020

To Circle of Inequity and to all Alumni of the Circle in the Square Theatre School:

 

We have listened to your stories, and on behalf of the Circle in the Square Theatre School, I want to extend my deepest apologies for any and all past harms our students have experienced due to institutional racism or sexism or pedagogical ignorance, or any other bias–whether implicit or explicit. Bias of any kind is intolerable, especially within the walls of a school, and even more so within the walls of a theatre school.
As an arts institution we need to honor and celebrate the individuality and uniqueness of each of our students and, as the work itself demands personal vulnerability, have safeguards in place to protect them and ensure their safety. To this end, I am committed to fully enacting change at Circle in the Square Theatre School. Actions speak loudest, and we are currently taking action on all levels:  re-imagining and re-framing school policy, putting into place new systems that will ensure accountability for all faculty and administrators, working to ensure that our faculty and staff reflect and represent the diversity of our students, engaging a third-party to begin an investigation into these allegations and creating an inclusive and safe space for all students. We are doing the internal work with all faculty and staff to create profound and meaningful change within the culture of our school and its curriculum.

I am committed to the ongoing work needed to ensure that all objectives and goals outlined in my statement issued on JULY 16TH entitled “Issues for Transformation and Change”are met. I ask and hope that you accept my sincere and heartfelt apologies.

Paul Libin

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JULY 16th, 2020

Dear Alumni and Circle of Inequity:

 

I have carefully read your letter and all of your stories of inequities.

What you express and detail is intolerable.

While this is the first time these disturbing micro and macro injustices have been brought to my attention, as President of Circle in the Square Theatre School, I take full responsibility.

I, along with Susan Frankel, am enacting an immediate investigation, exploration, and reflection to do the crucial inner/outer work to set up a Strategic Plan for addressing all that you so courageously express and identify.

As president, I am committed to implement profound and immediate change in addressing all of the inequities stated in the students’ list of demands and to bring restorative justice to our students and institution. I hear you and we are responding and taking action.

 

Issues for Transformation and Change:

  • Bring change to oppression and abuse of power of past and present policy;

  • To end the silence and inaction to racial trauma;

  • To end cultural appropriation and systematic racism;

  • To radically revise the curriculum of our education;

  • To cease denial of BIPOC truths and experiences;

  • To cultivate faculty education of diversity;

  • To end the false neutrality of a white narrative, and to put an end to the status quo of the dominance of white, Euro-centric storytelling;

  • To end the disregard of students’ voices and complaints; 

  • To create safe zones of a secure environment for BIPOC and LGBQT+ voices;

  • To hiring BIPOC and LGBQT+ faculty;

  • To bring full and complete accountability and transparency to our plan of action;

  • To develop a timeline for all of these actions;

AND

  • And to do the internal work necessary to end all forms of white supremacy.

 

In order to institute these changes, we will:

  • Bring in third party investigators;

  • Remove faculty who are not committed to these changes;

  • Make a formal apology to alumni and current students;

  • Commit to bring diversity to admissions and alumni affairs;

  • Implement inclusion and diversity training for staff and students;

  • Address issues of access to mental health counseling;

  • Make a statement of intention and a Strategic Plan for Diversity and Equity from Circle in the Square Theatre School prior to the academic year;

  • Confer individual statements of intention from all faculty;

  • Make concerted efforts to outreach to alumni regarding auditions;

AND

  • To actively practice anti-racism in all forms of our theater’s operations.

 

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This summer a group of alumni raised their voices to call attention to racial inequalities and administrative negligence at Circle in the Square. We are grateful for their bravery in standing up and speaking out, and we honor the incredible