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June 5, 2020

A message to our CSD community

We, the faculty and staff of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State, are outraged over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and numerous others. These recent deaths are linked to the disturbingly long legacy of discrimination, prejudice, and racism in our country that has too often gone undocumented and unacknowledged. We are anguished by this injustice. To our Black students, colleagues, and individuals that we serve, we acknowledge your pain, fear, anger, and sadness, and we stand with you. We are deeply committed to promoting justice, equity, acceptance, and inclusion of Black people.

Beyond our individual roles as citizens, we as professionals and future speech-language pathologists and audiologists have the duty and opportunity to directly combat the inequities that exist for Black people, especially the disparities in accessing education and health care services. As a field, we need to improve representation of Black professionals and we need to ensure the delivery of high-quality services to Black individuals with communication needs and their families.

We must be strong agents for positive change. We see these current events as an urgent call to action to break down the barriers that persist in our country and our field. Throughout this summer and fall, we will work to strengthen our efforts and take clear steps to support diversity and equity in our field, by addressing the following key issues:

  1. Recruitment and retention of a diverse student body in Communication Sciences and Disorders;
  2. Expansion of our evidence-based curriculum to prepare undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research, deliver high quality services, and support advocacy efforts to improve the lives of Black individuals with communication needs and their families; and
  3. Reduction of disparities in the delivery of high quality, evidence-based, consumer-responsive services to Black individuals with communication needs and their families. 

As we embark on these efforts, we value greatly the input of our students, our colleagues, and the individuals with communication needs that we serve. We are committed to hearing your voices in order to learn and improve. Together we can make a positive difference.