Memorandum February 11, 2019
- American University Community
- Daniel J. Myers, Provost
- Fanta Aw, Vice President of Campus Life
- Yearbook Review
Dear American University Family,
When the issue of yearbooks and past student conduct emerged in the national conversation last week, AU faculty and staff in the library undertook a review of all our yearbooks—The Talon, and its predecessor,AUCOLA—which were published from 1926 to 2009. We identified fifteen photos, cartoons, and drawings of concern. Some clearly reflect racism, bigotry, and ignorance toward African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. Others will require more context to fully understand their meaning.
The racism and ignorance reflected in these images is abhorrent. We regret the pain they have caused.
The images we have found require more than discovery, transparency, and apology; they deserve candid acknowledgement and action. As an educational institution, we will tap the expertise of our scholars from various disciplines, working with our University Librarian and the University Archives, to coordinate educational programming that will review the significance and history of these images. Stay tuned for more details.
AU has a number of resources that you can access to understand and engage with the work of anti-racism and civil discourse, including the Antiracist Research and Policy Center and the School of Public Affairs Project on Civil Discourse.
As we further develop our Plan for Inclusive Excellence, we must understand where we have been to inform where we are going.