Black Lives Matter: The School of the Arts Stands in Solidarity

Carol Becker
Laila Maher
June 12, 2020

A Message from Dean Carol Becker

Dear School of the Arts Community:

I write to you in the midst of the deep pain and understandable outrage many at the School, the University, in this country, and around the world are feeling as a result of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The protests we are witnessing across the U.S. are in response to these killings and to the many other abuses, injustices, and indignities that have been visited upon people of color, particularly upon brown and black people. 

I echo the deeply thoughtful messages you have received from President Lee Bollinger and Executive Vice President for University Life, Suzanne Goldberg. We are all heartbroken, devastated, and deeply upset to see what is happening now and has happened too often in relationship to race injustice in the U.S. throughout its history. We know that many of you are suffering all that has happened greatly. It is a time for clear and strategic thinking about the future of this country and for open discussion and debate about the way forward. It is also a time to stand together as a community in kindness to each other, in recognition of difference, and in the spirit always, of compassion.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services or Religious Life for support. If you or someone you know has experienced bias, please contact our Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs, Laila Maher. Also contact Student Conduct and Community Standards for questions or concerns about discrimination. For a full list of resources, visit


Carol Becker,
Dean of Faculty, Columbia University School of the Arts

A Message from Dean Laila Maher

Dear Students and Alumni:

I know the last two weeks have been extremely difficult. The horrific injustice of George Floyd's brutal killing by four Minneapolis police officers is further proof that little has changed regarding how Black communities are treated and policed in the United States. The list of those who have suffered at the hands of law enforcement is excruciatingly long. And while we've watched one protest after another, we are now witnessing hundreds of thousands of people in the US and around  the world stand against police brutality and anti-Black racism in a country founded upon genocide and built by slavery, a movement to re-affirm what has always been true, Black Lives Matter.

For those who are deeply familiar with the effects of institutionalized racism, each of these incidents can bring past pains to the surface and amplify current ones; for others, there is a moral imperative to educate oneself and a long learning process ahead. 

We know that many of you have been advocating on these issues for a long time. As we move forward, Student and Alumni Affairs will share relevant information and programming, both within and outside the university. To start, below are a few happenings we’d like to highlight. We know these conversations are neither the end goal nor an excuse for inaction, but they are part of a much bigger continuing process that must be sustained if we are to make the world more just.


Laila Maher
Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs