Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Commitment to Justice and Equity and Anti-racism

Western Washington University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is committed to dismantling systematic and systemic racism locally, and globally.

Our department condemns racism, bigotry, and hatred. We acknowledge that the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology have not centered the experiences, interests, dialects and languages of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC), which has led to marginalization and isolation. We have made mistakes in our profession's history and continue using assessments, materials, and tools that are biased and disproportionality diagnose BIPOC communities as having speech and language disorders based on dialect and cultural differences. These practices support a larger racist system; the same system that keeps police brutality and inequality alive.

We acknowledge that the composition of our fields and our department (faculty, staff, and students) has likewise not centered BIPOC perspectives and voices; and that BIPOC are insufficiently represented in our department, our undergraduate major, our graduate program, and across Western’s campuses. Speech-language pathology and audiology are among the least diverse professions in the United States.

We believe that communication and language matter. In a world that continually oppresses BIPOC, we must acknowledge our own mistakes, listen to and amplify the voices of our BIPOC colleagues and clients, call out injustice, and then conscientiously and deliberately work towards dismantling power structures that serve to discriminate.

We have established an Equity, Justice, and Diversity Committee that will meet monthly to lead our department’s actions. At the beginning of the academic year, the department will meet to revise our mission statement and strategic plan, and to develop sustainable initiatives to address systemic racism and bias in our professions.

We commit to doing the work to dismantle and eradicate racism, bigotry, and hatred; and to changing the face of our professions.


July 2020