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Response to Facilities Changes to the Black House: A Letter to Our Community

I am very appreciative of the input and perspectives that have been voiced related to the proposed changes to the Black House. Thank you for your commitment to the Northwestern experience of our Black/African American students. I want to reaffirm the Black House is not going to be closed.

Staff in Campus Inclusion and Community will continue to listen to students regarding the proposed changes to office and facilities spaces in the Black House. I understand that the impact on the Black House warrants further discussion by including our alumni partners. For now, I am suspending the proposed office location changes and halting any facilities improvements that have not yet begun. At this time, only the hallway and office painting has begun with the expectation that it will be completed.

Therefore, when the students return, we will be extending the listening and conversation by scheduling four sessions during the fall quarter. I want to more fully engage interested members of our community in the process. I will also be appointing a Black House Facilities Review Committee composed of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Its purpose will be to gather the information from the sessions to provide me with recommendations related to the Black House facility and office locations.

This effort is to build greater understanding and transparency in order to best serve our Black/African American students. It is my hope that we continue to engage in reciprocal, sincere dialogue with all of us now in the discussion. This endeavor aligns well with our goal to understand the Black Student Experience through the formation of a task force, planned to begin this fall, in order to improve Black/African American student experiences at Northwestern.

Again, thank you for your involvement. Scheduled meeting times and the representative membership of the review committee will be disseminated through listservs, social media, and email messages.

Warm regards,

Dr. Patricia Telles-Irvin
Vice President, Student Affairs
Northwestern University