To Whom It May Concern:
Earlier this year, the National Communication Association (NCA) changed its selection and nomination processes for its Distinguished Scholars program, which created controversy over whether the organization was responding properly to its recent commitment to encouraging diversity and equity among its members and in the organization. After a series of editorials and open letters from NCA members and many others that reveal a divide between those who feel that encouraging diversity in organizations and their most prestigious awards amounts to lessening the rigor and value of such organizations and awards, and those who reject such an either-or logic, the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) felt it necessary to offer a letter of support, encouraging NCA to continue a robust commitment to diversity and equity in its organization, which only makes it stronger and more relevant in global communication studies.
The Conference on College Composition and Communication supports NCA in its commitment to diversity and equity as reflected in its recent decision to change the selection process of its Distinguished Scholars program. CCCC, however, rejects the recent editorial written by Martin J. Medhurst, editor of Rhetoric and Public Affairs, and subsequent statements made by Distinguished Scholars, which draw a false dichotomy between “merit” and “diversity.” CCCC unanimously denounces the logic of these statements, which at their core assert that the rigor and integrity of rhetorical studies suffer under equity initiatives. These remarks demonstrate how entrenched inequity and injustice are in the academy, and how some scholars in the field and in positions of power remain possessively invested in structural and institutional systems of exclusion and oppression.
The Conference on College Composition and Communication Executive Committee