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Watt Hall corridor (basement) from north







A statement from the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), Student Association of Woman Architects (SAWA), and the Nation Organization of Minority Architects (NOMAS) to the administration of the University of Southern California School of Architecture:

Comprehensive Diversity 


It is no secret that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), Women, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities have long been discriminated against as both citizens in the built environment and as professionals in the field of architecture. We believe that educational institutions, including USC, play a key role in combating these inequalities. Student organizations AIAS, NOMAS, and SAWA have devised this Comprehensive Diversity Initiative to facilitate the reconstruction of the USC School of Architecture curriculum and community to be more representative, inclusive, and empowering of systematically-marginalized groups.

The current exclusion of BIPOC, Women, and LGBTQ+ designs from educational content at USC is a gross oversight that not only negatively impacts the education quality of ALL students, but also discourages participation by marginalized groups. By designing a representative education, we will create a safe, nurturing environment for underrepresented students to talk about and confront the issues surrounding inequality-- an approach that will simultaneously encourage them to succeed both in the classroom and as professionals. We see these changes as a continuation of the “Citizen Architect” concept championed by Dean Curry, via the promotion of understanding, respect, and collaboration with BIPOC,  Women, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities. We understand that there are specific minimum NCARB requirements each class must meet, but as a premier architecture institution, USC has a duty to reach beyond the minimum requirements of education and engage its student body in a discussion of the impact of our designs on ALL communities. The impact of architecture on underrepresented groups and communities should comprise the foundation of architecture education at USC in both theory and practice.

Moving forwards, we have two goals: (1) To increase BIPOC, Women, LGBTQ+, disabled, and international perspectives in the content taught at the foundational levels of the USC architecture education and (2) To equip all students, regardless of Race, Nationality, background, or gender identity, with the ability to design spaces in the best interests of underprivileged communities, specifically to improve the spatial experience of systematically-marginalized groups.

These goals are central to reforming the student experience at the School of Architecture. It is past time we reevaluated our community standards not only to support Black students, but to improve the educational quality and experience for all students regardless of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Physical Ability, or National Origin. Students shared their experiences with discrimination in the SOA through our survey, and this Comprehensive Diversity Initiative reflects their comments, complaints, and hopes for the future. It is our hope that enacting these inclusive policies will bring concrete change to our community and uplift the diverse student voices that comprise it.  



Restructure all courses to include Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) voices. 

The impact of architecture on underrepresented groups and communities and should comprise the foundation of architectural education at USC in theory and in practice. 


Hire more BIPOC, Women, and LGBTQ+ faculty and staff

Place a specific emphasis on recruiting those with expertise in diverse research interests and geographies and/or social justice projects for BIPOC and marginalized communities.


Mandate Diversity & Inclusion training for all faculty, staff, and students

Professors and students must be prepared to talk about these inequalities in an informed, constructive manner and understand how it affects student design


Response and accountability for toxic learning environments.

In order to maintain a safe, nurturing environment for all of our students, individuals found in violation of the established training and community values are to be held responsible and be subject to consequences


Financial support for any student for whom printing, model building, or software constitutes an obstacle to learning

Inability to afford materials is an obstacle that tends to disproportionately affect students of color, and can therefore dissuade BIPOC students from entering or remaining in the program.


Outreach and engagement with underrepresented communities and voices in the field of architecture

This includes actively recruiting prospective BIPOC students and faculty in addition to service partnerships with the local community

The following have supported and signed this initiative: 

USC Student Association of Woman Architects

USC American Institute of Architecture Students

USC National Organization of Minority Architecture Students

Andronicus Chapter of Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity

USC Undergraduate Architecture Student Council

USC Graduate Architecture Student Association

USC American Society of Landscape Architects

Abriannah Aiken, Class of 2021

Erin Light, Class of 2023

Katie Hayes, Class of 2021

Justin Wan, Class of 2022

Darwin Hu, Class of 2022

Katie Denti, Class of 2020

Juan Villatoro Class of 2022

Mel Lewis

Daniele Burns, Class of 2022

Maria Fernanda Furlan, Prospective Student.

Esra Daghestani, Class of 2021

Edgar Devora-Roman, Class of 2024

Andreas Papadopoulos, Prospective Student

Naomi Hicks

Ten Francis, Class of 2020

Chelsea Heckenkamp, Class of 2021

Cassius Palacio, Prospective Student, Class of 2026

Maddy Campbell, Class of 2020

Julia Mosher, Class of 2022

Stephanie Saunders, Class of 2022

Brian Ulaszewski, class of 2000

Cassie Vasquez, Class of 2023

Cassie Vasquez, Class of 2023

Kate Bogdanova, Class of 2021

Lala Nikola, Class of 2023

Angelina Lim, Class of 2022

Ryan von Keyserling, Class of 2023

Nisreen Tarbell, Class of 2022

Annabelle Asali, Class of 2023

Nastassja Lafontant, Class of 2021

Esmeralda Aceituno, Class of 2023

Carol-Ann Lucas, Class of 2021

Annabelle Asali, Class of 2023

Bettina Brown, Class of 2021

Valerie Taranto, Class of 2022

Chaila Johnson, Class of 2021

Ashley Onyeador, Class of 2023

Tori Smolinski, Class of 2022

Diana Perez, Class of 2023

Skyler Rosin, Class of 2023

Sofija Radulovic, Class of 2022

Sung Joon Yun, Class of 2022

Marshall Davis III, Class of 2021

Elena Prafo Class of 2023

Katherine Villa-Fuerte, Class of 2023

Zoe Jackson

Esmeralda Aceituno, Class of 2023

Radha J.Murumkar, Class 4th year of B.Arch

Laylah Fairley, Class of 2024

Ayse Artun, Class of 2023

Isabella Rendon, Class of 2024

Mary Elizabeth Pérez, class of 2021

Kaitelyn Haynes, Class of 2024

Emily Huang, Class of 2023

Heidy Garcia, Class of 2022

Michelle Ramirez, Class of 2024

Rose Li, Class of 2024

Sam Gherrity, Class of 2021

Liem Tran, Class of 2021

Mel Lewis class of 2021

JP Luikart

Thomas Ramirez, Class of 2022

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