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

Western Washington University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (WWU CSD) 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 disproportionately misdiagnose BIPOC communities. 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 and other marginalized community members’ perspectives and voices; and that this has led to underrepresentation in our department, our undergraduate major, our graduate program, and across Western’s campuses. We believe that communication and language matter. In a world that continually oppresses marginalized groups, we must acknowledge our own mistakes, listen to and amplify the voices of our diverse colleagues and clients, call out injustice, and then conscientiously and deliberately work towards dismantling power structures that serve to discriminate. 

We are committed to changing the face of our department and profession by cultivating and preserving a culture of equity, inclusion, and connectedness. We welcome the unique contributions that students bring in terms of their previous education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and beliefs. We want every student to feel our commitment to these principles through open collaboration and communication.  

A CSD Diversity, Equity, and Justice (DEJ) Committee was formed in 2020.  Four primary goals were established, including:

  1. Reducing barriers for marginalized and underrepresented students
  2. Increasing awareness of systemic racism in our profession
  3. Increasing transparency of departmental actions and efforts to address systemic racism
  4. Recruiting more diverse faculty, staff, and students.

In accordance with these goals, many action items were met during the 2020-2021 academic year, including establishing a BIPOC graduate scholarship, undergraduate/ graduate/alumni listening sessions and surveys to learn more about the lived experiences of our students and barriers to success, and substantive changes to our graduate admission process (e.g.. eliminating the GRE, changing our essay prompt).  Read our current goals, action items, and progress.