Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh recently issued a map to all students that showed the location of the university and the surrounding areas of the city. The map labeled some of the neighborhoods near the university. But there were oddly-shaped blank spaces on the map. As it turns out some of these blank spaces were neighborhoods with predominantly Black populations.
The university issued a statement that read:
“This map was developed as a resource for incoming Carnegie Mellon students with the intention of identifying some of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods that students frequently visit. While it highlighted select communities by name, it failed to include others, some of which are historically black Pittsburgh communities. We recognize the value, richness and history of these excluded neighborhoods, which makes our mistake especially painful. Carnegie Mellon University should have never used this map, as it fails to uphold our values of inclusion, equity and diversity. We sincerely apologize for this mistake and the hurt it created. We know we must do better and are committed to learning from this and making immediate and longer-term changes as a result.”
As a result of the controversy, two city council members are calling for the university to serve as a strategic partner in specific activities in African-American communities and to make direct commitments and contributions to the city’s communities of color. The university has agreed to enter into a dialogue with the city council members to discuss their proposal.