Messages to the Community

Welcome to the Spring 2022 Semester

A message from Melanie Hart, Senior Vice President for Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and Chief Diversity Officer

February 1, 2022 marks the start of the Lunar New Year as well as Black History Month.  The Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (EISJ) honors and celebrates Black History Month and the Lunar New Year! Please check the EISJ website for programming updates.

While we joyously recognize this special date, we also want to assure our community that it is the daily and year-round work of the Office of EISJ to support and advance an equitable and inclusive university. To follow is a brief update regarding some of the university-wide efforts of The New School’s Office of EISJ to advance equity, inclusion, and social justice at The New School.

One of President McBride’s pillars in the Framework for Fearless Progress states “The New School will be known and recognized as a preeminent leader for access, equity, inclusion and social justice in higher education.” That pillar requires the attention, effort, and commitment of the entire New School community. 

The Office of EISJ is grounded in the campus climate assessment for diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. The Assessment provided a baseline of data to understand the experience of students, staff and faculty, as well as achieved the designation of the university’s first Chief Diversity Officer. However, the work of the Office extends beyond that baseline, and includes policy, practice, and strategic leadership.  

The Office works across the university and in collaboration with every college and department through a distributive model of leadership so that the principles and practices of equity, inclusion and social justice are integrated through all university policies, practices, and pedagogy. This distributive model ensures engagement and accountability throughout the community. 

Spring 2022 Updates:

Campus Climate Assessment Implementation Task Force – Launching in March 2022, the Implementation Task Force will operationalize the recommendations of the campus climate assessment. To learn more about the Task Force, please contact

University Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Committee – To align and leverage the various efforts across colleges and departments, to ensure all members of The New School community are served, and to promote fidelity in operation and implementation, the Office will form the university-wide EISJ committee. The EISJ Committee will launch in February 2022. To learn more about this committee, please contact

University Ombudsperson – Under the leadership of the Office of EISJ, the university has expanded its capacity to serve students, staff and faculty through a full-time University Ombudsperson. While the University Ombudsperson structurally reports to and is aligned with the Office of EISJ, the University Ombudsperson remains an autonomous office that maintains the confidentiality of everyone who engages therein. The University Ombudsperson provides confidential, impartial, informal, and independent assistance to individuals and groups who experience conflicts or who have complaints. The foundational principles for the office are: (1) confidentiality, (2) informal, (3) neutral or impartial, (4) independent; and (5) equity, inclusion, and social justice.  

Ann Louise Shapiro serves as the University Ombudsperson.

The Office of Government and External Affairs – This office is designed to protect and advance the university’s interests through civic and political engagement in support of students, staff and faculty, and the university’s academic mission. In addition to serving as the university’s liaison to local, state, and federal government offices, the Office of Government and External Affairs serves the following internal and external purposes: 

  • Amplify the university’s standing, access, and influence in the civic and cultural life of New York City and beyond in service of students, staff, faculty,and alumni and institutional sustainability
  • Increase access to government funding and resources for a myriad of issues including research, relief, and support for students
  • Engage and influence the legislative agenda of local, state, and federal policymakers to benefit the New School’s mission, principles and agenda
  • Support a civic engagement agenda and opportunities for students, staff, and faculty
  • Monitor legislative and policy efforts that impact The New School’s interests and develop internal and external responsive strategies
  • Increase access and opportunities for students
  • Amplify the visibility of the university for recruiting students, staff, and faculty and other initiatives

Reporting to Melanie Hart, Rachana Shah serves as the Senior Director for Government and External Affairs.

While there have been precursors to the University Ombudsperson and Government and External Affairs roles, each of these functions is new in their current scope, composition, and responsibility. The Office of Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice, The Office of the University Ombudsperson and the Office of Government and External Affairs all exist in service to the university, its academic mission, and students, staff, and faculty. These strategic offices operate with minimal staff while expanding the capacity of the entire university to serve students, staff and faculty. While each office has its own function, they are interconnected through their leadership and responsibility to support all of the Pillars for Fearless Progress through a lens and foundation of equity, inclusion, and social justice.

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