Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee

Luther College is engaged in ongoing work to study, disrupt, and do our part to address the disease of racism and to seek justice, equity, and peace.

President Ward charged each department at Luther College during the academic year 2020-21 to initiate a review of program requirements, outcomes, and course content using the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

On Thursday, October 1, 2020, the Music Department faculty voted unanimously to create a music antiracism task force to take on this charge. Consisting of faculty, staff, and students, the group meets weekly to study the intersection of racism and music, and to make policy recommendations to the music faculty. An advisory board with a  broader constituency of students and faculty also meets regularly and serves as a sounding board for the members of the task force.

The task force has the following goals:

  • Conduct listening sessions with students, alumni, faculty and staff about the student experience of racism in the music department and barriers to participation for BIPOC students.
  • Evaluate current recruitment pathways and barriers to recruitment, participation and retention of prospective BIPOC students in the music department, and make policy recommendations to the faculty based on information collected.
  • Review the music program curriculum, using the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion, to ensure that non-Eurocentric musical styles, traditions, and practices are valued and taught. Make curriculum revision recommendations to the faculty based on information collected.
  • Propose to the faculty new language for the departmental mission statement to reflect the department’s commitment to antiracism work.

The task force members believe that the first step of antiracist work is to hear from members of the Luther community, as systemic racism affects us all. We recognize there are demands for change and for voices to be heard; to this end, the task force serves as a line of communication between students, alumni, and music faculty. As the task force listens to the community and studies the issues, we will develop policy recommendations to present to the music faculty for discussion and a vote.

Systemic change takes time. Members of the task force are committed to sustained, long term work toward creating a more equitable department. Current students and alumni are invited to contact members of the task force with any questions, comments, and suggestions for consideration. Anything shared in this manner will be kept confidential between members of the task force.

Rarely, do I ever feel "called" to prepare a piece of music...this is one of them. Even after 25 years since Matthew Shepard was murdered, the journey for equity in the LGBTQIA+ community continues.
Andrew Last '97
Director of Choral Activities
Learn More about Andrew

Current Initiatives/Ongoing Work/Updates (2022-23)

  1. Changed name from “task force” to “team”
  2. Continued to encourage faculty/staff/students to pledge to do antiracism work this year (now using kiosk in JN lobby)
  3. Two new members welcomed to team (Adrianna Tam and Solvei Christopherson)
  4. Developed short presentations/discussion questions for first 10 minutes of Music Faculty Meetings. (Proposed and approved unanimously by music faculty). Guests included students (Salomé Valdivieso Santillán and Xavier Andrade)
  5. Drafted a statement reminding students, faculty and staff to be mindful of word choices. Several drafts shared with constituents around campus. Vote affirmed to have statement sent by department at beginning of second semester as students return to campus and professors prepare syllabi.
  6. Created a resource cart on display in Jenson lobby to coincide with national and international commemorations:
  7. November: Indigenous People’s Month (Adrianna Tam)
  8. December/January: World AIDS Day (Tam Ayers)
  9. February: Black History Month
  10. March: Women’s History/Gender Equity Month
  11. Arab American Heritage Month
  12. May: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
  13. June: LGBTQ+ Pride Month/Juneteenth
  14. Gathered demographic information from office of Institutional Research


  • Brown, Julie. (2007). Western Music and Race. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kendi, Ibram X. (2019). How to Be An Antiracist. New York, NY: One World.
  • Southern, Eileen. (1997). The Music of Black Americans. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
  • Tator, Carol and Henry, Frances. (1998). Challenging Racism in the Arts: Case Studies of Controversy and Conflict. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.