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Equity & Inclusion: Dozens turn out to make a statement

…Shall be ever equally open to youth… from every quarter. Andover’s founders were on to something as they drafted Phillips Academy’s constitution. More than 235 years later, as PA embarks on a new strategic plan, those words remain deeply important to the fabric of our community.

So important that Andover magazine editor Kristin Bair O’Keeffe and Art Director Ken Puleo are devoting an entire issue to the strategic priority of Equity & Inclusion. Offering the following definitions, the magazine team camped out in the lobby of the library last week to help PA continue the conversation.

Equity: the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.

The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.

Inclusion: the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.

Why is equity important at PA? Why does inclusion matter to you? Students, faculty, and staff were invited to answer those questions on a white board. More than 70 people participated and were then photographed holding their responses, including co-president elect Annette Bell ’16, biology instructor Reem Hussein, and instructional librarian Sharon Pei.

Responses were candid, thoughtful, enthusiastic, personal, political, and hopeful. Like Bennett Slibeck ’17’s response, which highlights the difference between equity and equality, and that from soon to be Assistant Head of Equity and Inclusion Linda Griffith: “Equity means being invited to the table. Inclusion means helping to plan the menu.”

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A collage of the photos will run in the spring issue of Andover, alongside an essay exploring equity and inclusion issues on campus, written by English instructor Emma Staffaroni.

This spring magazine will be the second in a series highlighting each priority area of the strategic plan, Connecting Our Strengths: The Andover Endeavor. Last winter’s issue focused on Creativity & Innovation. The fall 2015 issue will explore Empathy & Balance.

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