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Open letter to chss COMMUNITY:


Dear CHHS Community:


We are graduate students in the Human Sexuality Program who are writing in the aftermath of our Summer 2020 class. While what happened in our class has already been detailed in the letter of solidarity we sent to our class and in a recent open letter of support written by Black faculty/BIPOC alum, we recognize that our experience is just one of MANY examples of racial illiteracy that people have experienced in the program. We know that there are countless untold stories of white aggression, misguided allyship, and facilitator inaction/ineptitude related to race from CHSS' long history, and we invite other BIPOC students/alumni/faculty to share their stories with us to amplify the volume of our calls to action.

As CHHS now embarks on work to address racial illiteracy and the concomitant harm it has produced in the program, it must ask itself serious ethical questions about not only what kind of training faculty will be receiving to navigate and facilitate conversations about race, but also what will be done to develop racial, cultural, and transnational competency among future sex educators, social workers, and sex therapists before dispatching them to our communities. Given our own experiences of harm and the experiences named and alluded to in the faculty open letter, it matters to us that  practices and protocols are created to repair harm when it occurs and that all members of our community are given opportunities to cultivate the resilience and practice required to navigate courageous conversations. Given the small size of our community, we ask that CHHS explore reparative models that can better support us in inhabiting the same spaces with greater safety, accountability, and trust.

We would like to call your attention to a key factor that underpins the issues outlined above, namely that the “Human” in Human Sexuality is a misnomer. So long as our classes continue to privilege white epistemologies and American perspectives, we remain active or unwitting participants in a racist and imperialist effort that seeks to universalize white and American experience. Nonwhite people around the world have long had their own taxonomies for gender, sexuality, and relationships, yet these taxonomies are given scant if any attention in the Human Sexuality classroom at Widener. Considering that the US is comprised of many cultures, worldviews, and cosmologies, which invariably make their way into our classrooms, practices, and workplaces, a greater plurality of voices is required not only in this field, but also in whom and what we choose to center in our classes. Our course content needs to shift such that it centers rather than marginalizes BIPOC epistemologies and epistemologies of the Global South.

The composition of our faculty matters to us and must be a part of this effort. Considering the recent resignation of a Black faculty member from our program and the glaring lack of representation by faculty of color overall, we look forward to hearing what your plans are not only to recruit new BIPOC faculty, but also to retain the invaluable and beloved Black faculty and faculty of color who are already here. We would also like to know what you will be doing to recruit and retain faculty who have transnational perspectives and are committed to decoloniality as a core tenet of their praxis.

We know the desire to see equity, justice, and change throughout CHSS is felt not only by BIPOC students. Clearly there are CHSS faculty and alum that feel as we do. Indeed, we stand in gratitude and in solidarity with their open letter. In light of the recent letters of support from faculty, CHHS, and private communications with others in our community, we are heartened to know that there are allies among us in the classroom, administration, and the field who recognize that a hard look at systemic and institutional failures to address racism is urgently needed and long overdue.

If you stand in support with our calls to action, please cosign this letter by adding your name in the comments section below or replying to this e-mail with IN SOLIDARITY in the subject line, and we will gladly add your name.


*If you are a BIPOC CHSS student and want to get involved in our BIPOC STUDENT ACTION GROUP, please send any of us a private message.

We look forward to working together towards a new vision of CHSS that holds at its center the values and practice of justice and equity.

In solidarity,

Angelica Thorne, Natasha Singh, Denise Williams-Braswell

Alysha Rooks

Jaxson Benjamin

Robert J. Kreisinger Denk

Leah J. Dirkse

Rennee D Willett

Naomi Berner

Tyler G Burns

Hilary Wermers

Sara Rodberg

Brooke N Madden

Darlene White

Lauren Akin-Smith

Dr. Dyson

Sarah A Rammos

Nicole Rosenthal

Ashley Di

Tamar Beck

Rachael Jennings

Cassie Wolf

Kelley Sisson

Laura Rathsmill

Sarah Brezinski

Dani W-b

Elicia Gonzales

Kelly Burns

Ceclina Wigle

Lyndsay Mercier

Lei R. Cort

Nicole Porter

Kagen Gray

Katelyn Regan

Courtney Weaver

Kelly J Quinn

Jo Førrėst-Stuart

Kristen O’Guin

Melody Leonor

Andi Koch

Rachel Simon

Nicole Rosenthal

Melissa Bryson

Timaree Leigh

Drew Burdick

Shanna Katz Kattari

Norah E Langweiler

Denise Renye

Hillary Grumbine

Meghan Dunleavy

Jessica L. Studer

Dr. Brent Satterly

Margo Kelly

Natasha Mack

Sarah Joy Hoover

Dave Schwartz

Victoria Panna

Marina Klier

Michaela Colleen

Sarah Hoffert

Jaclyn Jacobs

Leslie Massicotte

Kate Butler Sutton

RJ Jamison

Cassie Lange

Molly Wolf

Topher Bryant

Samantha Morris

Sarah Hoffert

Shanna Williams

Megan Speir

Courtney Watson

Jennifer Litner

Tatyannah King

Emily L. Depasse

Arial Moore

Jamila Dawson

Lisha Amin

Kayla Rivera

Li Lock

Jessica Sanchez

Amy jay

Krista Niederjohn

Mallory Michel

Sukrita Kala Dabral

Lindsay Michelle

Melanie Swain-Knapp

Kierson Romero

Alison McKee

Elizabeth Shroeder

Angie Foster-Lawson

Kat Pheysey

Jamie J. LeClaire

Nicole Green

Cristen Kennedy

Athalie Paynting

Dani W-b

Elliot Ruggles

Kim Fuller

L’Oreal McCollum

Laura Ross

Kasey Mairs

Julianne Cridlin

Janah Boccio

Sarah Diamond

Kaci Mial

Damiene Denner

Laura Hyde

Ericka Hart

Edward Angelini-Cooke

Marlene Pray

Emily Yantis-Houser

Lore Olvera

Rebecca Bunten

Emily Linnea

Sarah Simon

Connie Bonillas

Stacie Courtney-Mustaphi

Emily Shown

Lo Fitzgibbons

Marti Stany

Ana G. Santoy

Victoria Hummel

Landi Turner

Melanie Davis

Ryan W. McKee

Rachel Lee Nigsch

Stephanie Chando

Darcie Toone

Monique Howard

Brandon Pace

Shannon Criniti

Meredith Kramer Leach

Jenna Emerson

Kelly Conroy

Trisha Hicks

Jenn DiBartolomeo

Alice Holland

Latoya Brooks

Sarah Elizabeth Rose

Isabel Kaufman

Hope Spector

Kelli Wosick

Alexa Cortez

Ren Grabert

Mara Pliskin

David Schwartz LCSW

Stephen J Milburn

Laura C Hyde

Alicia Ricketts

Sarah Gannon

Joli Lenuso

Kat Ann

Katelin McNally

Chelsea Varnum

Christopher White

David Schwartz

Jacob D Glickman

Assyli Lynn

Jennifer Pollitt

Amy Kellogg

Karla Diaz

Becky Anthony

Shanna Dusablon

Renee Roy

Sarah Cyr-Mutty

Mia Barrett

Mauricio P. Yabar

Jessica Duggan

Eli R Green

Indíana Rós Ægisdóttir

Lisa Schulze

Neek Queen

Libby Diamon

Erika Karpman

Erica Smith

Soraiya Papaya

Malika O’Neill

Jennifer Goldberg

Tessa Eve FoxyKula

Megan R. Healy

Katelyn R Regan

Jasmine McLean

Ashton Higgins

Amy Pedigo Carmichael

Jennie Pless

Jenn Hinds

Cindy Lee Alves

Isobel Connors

Mara A Cash

Carly Goodkin

Mary Tierney

Diane Richards

Alice Holland

Elizabeth R. Anderson

Alexa Kaczmarski

Shannon Lawton-O'Boyle

Hanna Lynch

Sonalee Rashatwar

Liz Mallers

Tifphane Riley

Donna Oriowo

Connie Bowes

Sebastian Sprague

Kristine Seitz

Cristina Valcarcel Mikijanic

Kristin Chapman Anderson

Paige Fegan

Lynn Andrews

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