Otis College of Art and Design Tuesday announced a $1 million gift from Mei-Lee Ney, chair of the Los Angeles school’s Board of Trustees, for the immediate launch of several initiatives, including additional scholarships and the hiring of a diversity, equity and inclusion executive position.
“I made my donation because racial injustice is something I feel strongly about,” Ney said. “Systemic racism within our educational, financial and societal institutions disproportionately affects Black communities and can create additional obstacles for students, faculty and staff.”
In a statement to the Otis community on June 1, Otis President Charles Hirschhorn wrote that “we all need to work together to actively address structural inequality in our society, and in higher education. Black Lives Matter at Otis.”
The college subsequently announced new initiatives to support Black students, including a commitment to being an anti-racist institution; mandatory anti-racism training for faculty, staff and students; $1.5 million in new aid for culturally diverse and underserved students; and additional aid for 2020 Summer of Art students from local high schools.
The school also launched the Black Creatives Institute, which is focused on developing an inclusive and affirming campus climate for incoming Black-identified students in an effort to increase student engagement, first- to second-year retention, and degree completion. The week-long program commenced on Aug. 10.
“We are tremendously grateful to Mei-Lee Ney for her generous support,” Hirschhorn said. “There is much we need to do, and this early affirmation of such important work is critical.”
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