Skip to main content

Commitment to Cultural Equity & Belonging

Systemic racism, unconscious bias, and white supremacy generate countless imbalances of equity, equality, and access. It doesn’t matter whether these imbalances are unintentional; what does matter is that we as an institution take action to identify them, understand their impact, and intentionally dismantle and reset them.

We must examine ourselves, and systematically advance respect, equity, and justice—within NEC first, throughout our field more broadly, and ultimately across society.

Here, we will share details about the systematic and comprehensive process NEC is taking, and will establish frequent and transparent communication about the process, the progress being made, and opportunities for the entire NEC family to get involved.

To get involved, please contact Stanford Thompson, Special Assistant to the President, at

This page will be continually updated throughout the summer and coming academic year. We invite you to sign up for periodic email updates about our progress by selecting "NEC's Cultural Equity and Belonging Process."


NEC Perspective Forum | July 14 | 8 p.m. ET

Our Process

Phase I - Summer 2020

  • June 2, 2020: Beginning of the BSU’s requested period of mourning and healing.
    • Revisiting the work of the DEI Task Force and student social-justice activities to assess past recommendations that have not yet been realized.
  • June 22, 2020: Beginning of listening period with members of the BSU and DEI Task Force to set the agenda to update the institution’s DEI Statement and identify actionable next steps.
    • Informational meetings between NEC’s Special Advisor to the President, Stanford Thompson, and members of the BSU and DEI Task Force (ongoing)
    • Senior Leadership group meeting (July 1, 2020)
    • BSU group meeting (July 2, 2020)
    • DEI Task Force meeting (July 8, 2020)
  • July 13, 2020: Beginning of public listening period with the NEC Community.
    • At the conclusion of this period, an anonymized public report will be produced and used to help the institution focus on creating lasting change.
      • 50+ hours dedicated to the NEC Community from July 13th – August 7th to share their experiences, stories, and ideas with the Special Advisor to the President. Confidentiality will be honored for all who request it.
        • Click here to sign up for a listening session
        • Groups of up to six people can email a request for a 90-minute meeting
        • Up to five public virtual forums will be organized for members of the NEC Community and industry experts to share their experiences, related research, and ideas on how NEC can create and sustain a culture of belonging.
  • July 20, 2020: Team of faculty created to begin an audit of NEC’s curriculum.
  • Week of August 10, 2020: Final report of action steps and timelines completed.
  • Week of August 17, 2020: Report presented to, and reviewed by, the DEI Task Force, BSU, Senior Leadership, and leaders from the faculty, staff, and Board.
  • Week of August 24, 2020: Report released publicly after ratification by all stakeholders listed above.

Phase II – Fall 2020

  • Plan implementation begins. Work in this phase will be shaped by Phase 1, but also will include:
    • Implementation/expansion of diversity training and racial equity programs for faculty, staff, and students;
    • Anti-racism training for Senior Leadership and academic leaders, and development/sponsorship of mandatory training sessions and programs for all departments;
    • Launch of the “Cultural Equity and Belonging Task Force” that will lead the search for a Director for Cultural Equity and Belonging.

Phase III – Winter/Spring 2021

  • Continued implementation of plan, as determined in Phases 1 and 2, as well as:
    • Hire of the Director for Cultural Equity and Belonging;
    • Launch of Institute for Cultural Equity and Belonging;
    • Partnership with the Board of Trustees around mechanisms of accountability for Senior Leadership.
Recent Communications

DEI Task Force

Task Force Members 

Rebecca Bogers, staff
Cheyanna Duran, student
Tom Handel, faculty
Tanya Kalmanovitch, faculty
Willy Kubas, student
Tanya Maggi, staff/faculty
Lautaro Mantilla, faculty
Naledi Masilo, student
Tom Novak, staff
Alex Powell, staff
Nedelka Prescod, special advisor, faculty
Felicia Sandler, faculty
Steven Sweat, coordinator, staff
Yi-AnEsther Tien, student
Marquis Wincher, student
Evan Wright, student

Task Force Meetings

February 21, 2020
March 10, 2020
April 8, 2020
April 30, 2020
May 29, 2020
July 8, 2020
August 2020 (Date TBD)


Front Steps of SLPC Zoom Background
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

New England Conservatory is committed to providing a safe environment for learning, working, and performing where all members of the community are valued and respected and can reach their personal and artistic potential.

Believing that a vital and diverse community is built on the respect of individuals, NEC fosters an atmosphere of intellectual and artistic freedom, and encourages the open exchange of ideas and creative initiatives. Learning at NEC is an active process that is encouraged and supported by common respect for the talents and potential of each member of the community. An essential part of an NEC education is gaining a deep appreciation of the traditions and cultures from which music originates.

This page will continuously be updated with more information on NEC's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. This statement is currently under review by the DEI Task Force and will be updated in the summer of 2020.