At the Governor’s School, we are guided by our mission and values. With a full commitment to diversity and inclusion, we take a clear stand against discrimination and inequality.
Over the course of the past several years, the Governor’s School has implemented the following important initiatives that focus on increasing diversity, inclusion, and equity for all students and employees. These actions lay the groundwork for progress and future opportunities for positive change.
Fostering a Diverse Campus Community
The Governor’s School is doing more than ever before to create a culturally accepting and inclusive campus community.
The Governor’s School is nationally recognized for the quality of the academic curriculum and pre-professional arts training students receive. They are not only taught by a faculty of scholars and professional artists, but also by a wide array of guest artists and speakers with different backgrounds and viewpoints to enhance the curriculum and provide a rich, challenging learning experience for all students.
We recognize the importance of students seeing themselves in the curriculum wherever possible, and our curricular initiatives in both arts and academic classes strongly support diversity and inclusion. In consultation with state standards and national accrediting organizations in the arts, our faculty consult with their Department Chairs to plan curriculum and instruction in ways that represent and support diversity and inclusion. This curriculum is under steady and ongoing examination, and this will continue to be an ongoing focus in the future.
It is school policy to select materials that support the educational goals and objectives established by the school's Board of Directors. These materials include a wide range of learning resources, with diversity of appeal and the presentation of different points of view to meet the learning needs of students and the instructional needs of faculty.
Diversity and inclusion are central to several of the criteria for the selection of instructional materials/curriculum:
- Learning resources shall be designed to provide a background of information that motivates students and staff to examine their own attitudes and behavior, to comprehend their duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges as participating citizens in our society, and to make intelligent judgment in their daily lives.
- Learning resources shall provide information on opposing sides of controversial issues so students may develop under guidance the practice of critical analysis.
- Learning resources shall be designed to help students gain an awareness of our pluralistic society.
- Guest Artist Programming
Increasing diversity in our guest artist series has been a critical part of our strategic plan for incorporating diversity in all departments as well as in our schoolwide Presidential Guest Artist series that has featured former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove (2018) as well as choreographers Alonzo King and Garth Fagan (both 2019). These Presidential Guest Artist residencies are also planned with an Outreach component so that the impact extends beyond the walls of the Governor’s School to reach students and teachers statewide.
Over the past three years, many guest artists of color have enhanced arts curriculum through master classes and artist talks. These guests are at the top of their respective fields, and they can and do offer our students a clear and compelling example. Building time for direct interaction with these guests is also intentional as a way to help students build networks and create relationships with these role models. These include poet Hanif Abdurraqib, choreographer Jennifer Archibald, baritone Phillip Boykin, clarinetist Ben Chen, dancer Thaddeus Davis, pianist Howard Kim, poet Ada Limón, photographer Armon Means, actor André de Shields, pianist Yekwon Sunwoo, soprano Louise Toppin, conductor Joseph Young, and many others.
During the fall 2020 semester, the following alumni led guest artist talks and master classes:
- Travis LeMont Ballenger (Drama, '05), who is currently producing the Michael Jackson musical due to open soon on Broadway.
- Carolyn Bolton (Dance, '05), a freelance dancer who previously danced with Rambert, the UK's largest national contemporary dance company in London.
- Whitney Huell (Dance, '04) dances with the Kansas City Ballet and was the second African American ballerina to join the company.
- Jasminn Johnson (Drama, '12), a Juilliard graduate, teacher, and actor who recently appeared in Blues for an Alabama Sky at the Keen Theater in NYC.
- Peyton Johnson (Music, '14), a trumpet player who attended the Eastman School of Music and is currently pursuing a Master in Music in trumpet at the Hartt School.
- Student Activities & Events
We proudly celebrate and support the diversity of our student body through ongoing efforts that include student groups such as the Multicultural Club, Feminist Club, and Gay-Straight Alliance. In collaboration with school-sponsored groups, our community honors educational emphasis periods such as Black History Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, and Holocaust Remembrance Day as learning opportunities for the entire campus community each year.
This fall semester, the Governor's School is providing opportunities for students to connect with Historically Black Colleges and Universities through the HBCU Night, Inc. & HBCU Hub's virtual college fair, A Digital World.
Additionally, the school seeks to include diverse guest speakers in Community Meetings, including Dr. John Lane, Director of Academic Affairs at the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education; Fletcher Smith, Former South Carolina State Representative; and South Carolina Representative Chandra Dillard.
- Diversity and Inclusion Council
In August of 2019, the Diversity and Inclusion Council was formed to raise awareness of how members of the Governor’s School community can more effectively interact with individuals who are different from themselves. The council, which includes employee representatives from various campus units and is led by the Director of Human Resources, facilitates and enables the ongoing work of creating and sustaining a diverse and equitable community in a safe, supportive, and creative environment. Some of their planned Equality, Diverse, and Inclusive (EDI) Initiatives include:
- A monthly newsletter sent to our community on the first Monday of every month beginning August 3rd.
- Expanding supportive spaces on campus for students.
- Implementing a book club that focuses on readings to continue conversations on the importance and relevance of diversity and inclusion.
- Facilitating community discussions on diversity and inclusion.
- Creating a multicultural club for employees.
- Facilitating additional training and invitations to speakers knowledgeable on the topic of diversity and inclusion.
- Extending an invitation to the Student Council and Alumni Advisory Council to have a designee join the Diversity and Inclusion Council quarterly to discuss ideas and concerns.
- Diversity Training
The Governor’s School provides mandatory diversity training for all employees during scheduled Professional Development days and for student leaders during a summer planning retreat. The school is committed to making diversity training on-going throughout the school year.
Each month, the Diversity & Inclusion Council shares a newsletter featuring educational resources, BIPOC artists, and community engagement events and activities.
Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter
Creating a Diverse Student Body
The Governor’s School has made a concerted effort to extend its reach into communities throughout the state with the intent of being a catalyst for positive change for all citizens.
- Student Recruitment
With each annual recruitment cycle, the Admissions team is charged with seeking a diverse applicant pool of students representing all 46 counties of the state. We request access to recruit in every public middle and high school in South Carolina, along with other community organizations and partners. Special emphasis is given to areas that have been identified as Presidential Priority Counties, representing regions where students have had little to no exposure to Governor’s School programs, and from where we have had very few applicants.
The school recognizes that there are systemic and deeply ingrained barriers to many students having access to arts education programs and also recognizes that these counties tend to be heavily populated by people of color. The Governor’s School is committed to removing obstacles to diversify our student population and serve all students and teachers of the state.
- Student Body Demographics
- Total Students: 231
- 81 (35%) Male / 150 (65%) Female
- 152 (66%) White / 79 (34%) Non-White
- 7 (3%) Asian
- 28 (12%) Black
- 26 (11%) Hispanic/Latino
- 18 (8%) Two or More Races
Expanding Access to Arts Education
The Governor’s School’s Outreach programs continue to be the school’s most significant area of growth in reaching diverse populations. As part of our school’s mission to serve as a resource for teachers and students throughout the state, our efforts have grown from serving 13,670 individuals in 2015 to reaching over 19,500 individuals in 29 counties during the last academic year including a range of programming and embedded partnerships in Dorchester, Jasper, and Williamsburg counties.
Increasing Diversity Among Employees
The Governor’s School’s ongoing strategic plan includes recruiting and retaining diverse employees. The school actively seeks a broad pool of qualified applicants for every position that becomes available. Hiring supervisors and the Office of Human Resources are charged with distributing job postings widely including statewide publications, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, communication with community partners, and strategic requests of school partners. School policies, such as ensuring diverse representation on hiring committees, support this effort.
The Governor's School is an equal employment opportunity agency. We provide affirmative action and equal opportunity employment for all qualified persons regardless of race, color, sex — including the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, national origin, age, religion, or disability.
- Employee Recruitment
The Governor's School is actively recruiting with:
- Urban League of the Upstate
- Hispanic Alliance of Greenville
- Hispanic American Women’s Association
- United Way for the Latinos United group
- Allen University
- Claflin University
- Benedict College
- South Carolina State University
The Office of Human Resources is currently researching additional minority based organizations to actively recruit future employees.
- Employee Demographics
Data includes Permanent FTEs and Temporary Employees. As of 8/3/2020.
- Total Employees: 149
- 57 (39%) Male / 92 (62%) Female
- 125 (84%) White / 24 (16%) Non-White
- 19 (13%) Black
- 4 (3%) Hispanic/Latino
- Total Faculty: 79
- 72 (91%) White / 7 (8.8%) Non-White
- 4 (5%) Black
- 3 (3.7%) Hispanic/Latino
- Total Staff: 70
- 53 (76%) White / 17 (24%) Non-White
- 15 (21%) Black
- 1 ( 1%) Hispanic/Latino
Student Discipline and Reporting
The Governor’s School takes any act of discrimination on campus very seriously and has updated reporting mechanisms and the disciplinary processes for swift action and fair outcomes.
- Disciplinary Process
The Governor’s School uses a standing discipline committee with diverse representation from the campus community. This committee seeks to ensure consistency between cases, yet also ensure that outcomes address individual circumstances. The current structure was implemented in the fall of 2017. The discipline committee undergoes annual orientation and training to ensure equitable implementation of consequences.
Lower level discipline, typically Class I violations and Class II concerns not directed to the discipline committee, is reviewed by the Assistant Director of Student Services, who also serves as the school’s Discrimination Compliance Coordinator for student concerns.
The school implemented restorative justice practices for discipline in the 2017-2018 school year. When appropriate, this work seeks alternative disciplinary outcomes other than suspension or dismissal. Training in restorative practices continues to be implemented for employees. As a part of this work, the school continues its Engage program to support students facing challenges related to drugs or alcohol, offering counseling and treatment options as a positive alternative to discipline. New criteria for entry into the Engage program were implemented in the fall of 2019 to ensure that students and employees understand the purpose of the program and its equitable goals.
Parents are active partners within the discipline process and are notified of all Class II and Class III violations as well as repeated Class I concerns.
A review of suspensions and dismissals over the past five years reflects that 24.07% of these disciplinary outcomes were for black students, 70.37% were for white students, and 3.7% were for Asian students.
The Governor’s School has internal mechanisms and support structures by which the campus community can safely report concerns on these matters. Students are encouraged to report concerns to all employees and employees are charged with addressing issues as they arise. Additionally, employees submit an incident report to document concerns received and action taken. Formal reports are received by the school’s Discrimination Compliance Coordinator who determines steps to resolution in conjunction with appropriate staff. Additionally, members of the school community can report concerns externally to the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Education. In both cases, reports are confidential, but not anonymous.
We pledge to uphold our commitment to an inclusive and equitable learning community.
President Adderley's Statements on Diversity
- June 4, 2020 - Letter to Governor's School Community
Dear Govie Community,
As I’ve watched the events in our nation unfold over the last several days, I’ve struggled to make sense of why we again find ourselves in the position of mourning multiple deaths in the black community at the hands of those who felt empowered to take their lives. What we are experiencing is not unprecedented. People of color have faced a long history of discrimination that cannot be justified, and any attempt to do so must be corrected for the sake of our nation and our future generations.
At the Governor’s School, we are guided by our mission and values with a clear stand against hate and inequality. For the last several years, we have placed a special emphasis on extending our reach into communities throughout the state with the intent of being a catalyst for positive change for all citizens. Not simply as an arts school, but as a true-to-form partner in education. With a commitment to partnerships and opportunities in historically underserved communities, our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism is strong, and the results of these efforts are clear to those who seek to learn of our work. Regardless of the pain and confusion that we will carry with us into the future, our dedication is steadfast and we will continue along the path of serving and seeking to serve all students in the most meaningful ways possible.
I regret that there are no words of comfort that can right the wrongs of the distant and most recent past. My life experiences allow me to feel that pain. It is through that pain that I offer words of my commitment to continued action that is reflected over the course of a thirty-year career including the past five years at the helm of the Governor’s School. We are indeed working toward the beloved community that we all deserve in my home state of South Carolina. Without question, we stand together on the right side of justice for all.
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
- June 30, 2020 - Letter to the Black Alumni Council
Dear Members of the Black Alumni Council,
I write today in the spirit of what will ultimately chart the path for the next phase of growth and development at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Like each of you, I continue to agonize over the recent murders of unarmed black men and women throughout our nation, the painful history that sanctioned such events, and the level of ambivalence that has nurtured the environment allowing such incidents to continue.
Much in the same way as I did prior to my initial communication with you, I’ve taken the opportunity to reflect upon your concerns and their relevance to where we are as a state and nation. Although I can think of countless responses for each requested action, it has been through this level of thought that I am also able to more clearly see the level of pain and uncertainty that has caused such a level of discontent with your experience on this campus. Over the course of my lifetime, I have unfortunately experienced the heavy hand of racism and discrimination more times than I care to remember, and I know that those feelings of torture never subside. We will unfortunately bear those scars for the rest of our lives.
First, I wish to thank those of you who accepted my invitation to discuss your concerns and have honest and open dialogue regarding potential avenues for improvement. These meetings were truly meaningful and insightful to me, allowing for a much-needed initial conversation on issues that you have faced and those that we are able to address immediately. For those who were unable to participate in these discussions, I again welcome your participation as your schedule permits, as I value every opinion and seek to learn from each of you.
Without question, we must make transformative change at the Governor’s School in not only being the thought leader for arts education in our state, but also leading the charge for advancing social justice and anti-racism in South Carolina. In line with our institutional mission and our commitment to serving all 46 counties across South Carolina, we are uniquely positioned to do this alongside our work in developing the next generation of young artists in the state.
The Board of Directors, Leadership Team, employees, and I are fully committed to all that is necessary to improve, correct, and realign any and all structural and systematic processes that have caused harm or prevented full access to what was intended to have been a fully equitable experience for our students and all members of the Governor’s School community. If we are to indeed be the leading artistic and academic institution that we could and should be, then we must make significant change as a learning community. Regardless of the level of accomplishment that we have made in recent years, we further commit to and recognize the work that lies ahead and the critical nature of acting swiftly and immediately. With this in mind we stand in solidarity in addressing the needs of our students, past, present, and future.
In support of our commitment to addressing the diversity of the Governor’s School community, we will:
- Expand the diversity of our faculty and staff with particular emphasis on recruiting, hiring, supporting, and retaining Black and Indigenous people of color.
- Expand the diversity of our student population with particular emphasis on recruiting, supporting, and retaining Black and Indigenous students of color.
- Enhance our financial assistance program to ensure that all programs are accessible to Black and Indigenous students of color.
In support of our commitment to addressing our environment to embrace anti-racism, equity, and inclusion to foster a more inclusive environment for all members of the Governor’s School community, we will:
- Establish and implement an in-depth, on-going diversity and anti-racism training for every member of the faculty, staff, and student body with a focus on anti-racist principles, appropriate responses to racial conflict, harm reduction, and racial privilege.
- Incorporate the study of anti-racism and the African diaspora across our curriculum in the arts, humanities, and academics with a special focus on race in the growth and transformation of the arts.
In support of our commitment to addressing long-term structural systems to renew our vision for change, we will:
- Enhance support systems for every member of the faculty, staff, and student body who are experiencing conflicts with racism, sexism, or social justice in any form.
- Establish and implement a program of coordinated surveys of our faculty, staff, and student body to assess and inform our status and progress in addressing concerns of diversity, inclusion, and equity.
- Assess the structure of our organizational leadership.
- Hold leadership and all employees accountable through the annual review process for ensuring a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable campus.
In support of our commitment to our alumni who are Black and Indigenous people of color, we will:
- Expand our engagement through on-going communication with alumni who are Black and Indigenous people of color.
- Provide additional opportunities for alumni who are Black and Indigenous people of color to engage with students on campus.
- Assist in mobilizing alumni to be agents of change for the Governor’s School.
- Enhance our relationships with our state’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (South Carolina State University, Claflin University, Benedict College, and Allen University).
It is critical that we recognize that these actions simply lay the groundwork for what is necessary for change at the Governor’s School and are the first of many successive initiatives. Beyond what we can establish and implement immediately, it is critical that we quickly engage with the leadership of the Black Alumni Council to outline a formal process to address additional concerns raised by your letter. The Board of Directors, Leadership Team, and campus personnel wish to engage with you to ensure that action steps and measures are designed to appropriately respond to what is required of us. To that end, we invite the Black Alumni Council to designate members who will participate with the Board, campus leadership, and other members of the Govie community in a Working Group with the goal of engaging in a deliberate process to define further actions. I hope that there are members of the Black Alumni Council who will genuinely participate in this process with the goal of bringing about substantive change and ensuring continuous improvement for the benefit of our students, as they deserve the best experience possible when entrusted to our community. To begin the process, I request that the Black Alumni Council respond with a list of members and contact information who are willing to participate in this process and work alongside us.
I regret that much of what we have accomplished in diversifying our community and providing a more just and equitable experience remains unknown by many. This work is certainly cherished and appreciated by those who have become true-to-form partners in our efforts to more adequately serve our students and all stakeholders within the Governor’s School community. We are committed to redoubling those efforts in support of our students and to communicating the success of these initiatives to you and all members of the Governor’s School community. Your knowledge of this work and, hopefully, your participation will be vital to the continued service of students. I invite you to review our work at the following link – https://www.scgsah.org/diversity.
I anticipate that the immediate and subsequent changes for us will be even more vibrant and enriching than one can imagine. We pledge to uphold our commitment to a truly inclusive and equitable learning community while being forever mindful of the historical and cultural context of what we have perceived as success and what we now recognize as failures. By design, we will certainly be excellent in the arts and academics as we have been for over twenty years. By choice, we will not only meet the needs of our students of color, but exceed the expectations for a world-class academic experience free from racism, bigotry, and discrimination in any form. I look forward to carving out the future of the Governor’s School with each of you.
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
Help Support Diversity Initiatives
While the Governor’s School has been continuously working to ensure that all students feel safe, supported, and celebrated in our community, we are well-aware that this important work is ongoing. We ask every member of our community to help by supporting the above initiatives and to share any ideas that you have to improve our school. If you have suggestions, please contact a member of the Administration and/or the Diversity and Inclusion Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.