Dear MCAD Community, 

I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and strong. 

These past months have been challenging in so many ways. As we all contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also confronting and grappling with the ever present legacy of racism both locally and nationally. This past summer at MCAD has been a time of introspection, conversation, and action. For that reason I am writing to provide an update on the commitments MCAD outlined in June. Before I do, I want to recognize our students, faculty, alumni, and staff members. So many of you have taken action to advocate for systems-change, help raise funds for scholarships and our neighborhood, demand equality for Black community members, and shown us a myriad of ways we can support our broader community. I am grateful to be part of such a passionate, engaged group of people. 

In June 2020 MCAD outlined the Comprehensive Strategy for Community Support and Recovery with five major initiatives. Below, you will find a report our progress in each area: 

Space + Facilities

  • The People's Library used MCAD space on campus for pop-up food distribution and mutual aid throughout the summer.
  • Staff members were offered and provided safe housing during unrest.
  • MCAD employees delivered the college van and pop-up tents to community organizations that requested them.
  • MCAD employees continue to volunteer with The Whittier Alliance to support voter registration in the neighborhood. 
  • Student voter-registration event was held on campus on October 7, 2020.
  • MCAD campus is a public polling place for the November 2020 election.

Network Support 

  • MCAD is regularly sharing city volunteer opportunities with our staff, faculty, students, and alumni.
  • MCAD continues to use our social media channels to aggregate and amplify community news and requests for resources as we receive them.
  • Full-time MCAD employees can now volunteer up to two hours each week as part of their paid work time. 


  • In June 2020 MCAD matched just over $10,000 in donations to forty-eight relevant nonprofit organizations given by our generous community of students, alumni, staff, faculty, and emeriti faculty.
  • MCAD established the Black Leadership Award, an endowed scholarship fund for Black students at MCAD that continues to grow. In addition, an endowed fund for BIPOC students is being established in the MFA program with a goal of raising $26,500 by December 2021.
  • In August 2020 a $10,000 donation was delivered to The Whittier Alliance, made through generous supporters of the MCAD Auction Online. 

Leadership & Advocacy 

  • MCAD continues to use influence and acumen to advocate for broader policy shifts that need to occur within the city and beyond in order to support diverse cultural work and communities of color. This includes continued conversations with other cultural leaders and members of the Governor’s staff as well as local policy makers; facilitating dialogue through the launch of the On Topic podcast and Slow Burning Fire events; and serving on the AICAD DEI Steering Committee.
  • MCAD has broadened the focus of its own DEI Committee made up of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to include the Executive Director of the Whittier Alliance neighborhood organization. 

Institutional Change & Student Support

  • Starting in January 2021, MCAD will conduct anti-racism and anti-oppression training with an outside educator. The six-month engagement will begin with the MCAD leadership team followed by the Board of Trustees, students, staff, and faculty. 
  • MCAD will host the MCAD President’s Lecture Series: Race & Design for the MCAD public on November 11, 2020 with panelists Liz Ogbu, Joseph Kunkel, and Greg Hoffman’92. 
  • More than 280 students received emergency fund awards needed from the impact of COVID-19 and city unrest. 
  • Student Affairs brought in outside counselors to process the trauma of recent events for our students.
  • MCAD is reexamining our internal Public Safety protocols and relationship with MPD with faculty, staff, and student input.

The work to stand with our BIPOC, and specifically Black community, for meaningful change is no less urgent than it was in June. I will continue to reach out with updates on our progress. And, of course, if you have ideas to share, please email

All my best,

President Sanjit Sethi