A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

SAIC’s Unequivocal Support for All Its Community Members

Dear SAIC Community,

At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, we strive to nurture a campus that is inclusive of difference and enriched by a diversity of individuals and ideas. We are consequently distressed by reports that the federal government is considering curtailing the civil rights of transgender, nonbinary, intersex, and gender nonconforming people by narrowly defining gender under Title IX as solely biological and immutable from birth. This limited conception of gender runs counter to the ways in which many people at the School and beyond experience the world, inhabit their bodies, practice their craft, and enact their citizenship. We oppose this change and will continue to champion a broad conception of gender, which embraces the widest expression of human experience.

Moreover, we write to you today to reiterate SAIC’s unequivocal support of all members of our community, regardless of gender identity, sex, race, disability, ethnicity, citizenship, sexuality, or any difference mistakenly perceived to undermine the vital, dynamic, and imperfect, yet evolving, campus we know the School to be. When we, as a community, encounter setbacks or take missteps in our efforts toward inclusivity and equality, it is incumbent upon us to redouble our efforts to foster and support a diverse School and society.

As practitioners and scholars of art and design, we know that liberty, like learning, is an iterative process, requiring continual reappraisal and steadfast resolve to work toward freedom. This is why the work of artists, designers, and scholars is essential to arriving at a just world. The expansive imagination, risk-taking, tolerance for ambiguity, constructive critique, capacity for forgiveness, and abundance of compassion that aids us in the continual improvement of our campus can also make our shared society better. Let our talents inform our efforts toward a campus where everyone belongs. And let the mutual acceptance we build on campus be a model for the world we want to see. 

If you are experiencing distress and wish to speak to someone, please remember that SAIC provides counseling services for all its students through the Wellness Center and faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program. SAIC is here for you.

Elissa Tenny

Martin Berger
Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs