TIMELINE: HOW DID WE GET HERE?
March 15: JOMDC closes doors due to COVID-19 pandemic. They begin to shift to live stream classes and building an online learning library of pre-recorded classes
March 16-29: Multiple faculty members request a contract agreement in order to protect their work
March 31: JOMDC offers an inadequate contract to faculty raising many concerns, including: lack of faculty member ownership of their creative content, inconsistencies in pay, and the ability of JOMDC to edit work without consent.
April 1: JOMDC holds a meeting to discuss the contract with faculty, and faculty offers suggestions
April 1-3: As faculty communicate with each other about the contract discussions, they also begin sharing concerns about JOMDC. Conversations unearth instances of systemic racism, discrimination, contempt, financial instability, and an overall lack of effective leadership, with examples experienced by multiple members of former faculty.
April 3: Faculty sent an itemized response to the terms of the contract
April 3: These faculty members come together to form the JOMDC Coalition of Concerned Faculty.
April 4: The Coalition of Concerned Faculty sends a letter to JOMDC leadership and the board of directors, outlining specific experiences of racism, child endangerment, discrimination, pay inequity, and ineffective leadership that have pervaded the institution for years. The letter requested the removal of a member of the leadership team at the center of these claims.
April 6: JOMDC Leadership acknowledges receipt of the letter and hires an outside law firm to investigate the allegations.
April 9: all non-leadership faculty (approx. 80 educators) are terminated from teaching positions
April 22: The Coalition of Concerned Faculty forms the DMV Coalition of Dance Educators (DMVCODE), as we plan to continue serving our community into the future.
May 3: DMVCODE launches a fundraiser to assist former JOMDC faculty, raising over $5,000 in 45 days
May 6: JOMDC sends revised contract to former faculty that includes minimal changes, not addressing the full concerns of the former faculty
May 16: DMVCODE sends another iteration of contract amendments for revision.
May 16: DMVCODE distributes first donation in support of former JOMDC faculty
May 17-31: DMVCODE continues to voice concerns and attempts to engage the board of directors and leadership in constructive conversations.
June 5: After days of silence, JOMDC board of directors shares an insensitive post on social media around Black Lives Matter issues, but does not respond to calls for change or action.
June 10: Executive Director Mary Chase and the JOMDC board of directors agree to a mutual separation, ending Chase’s tenure at JOMDC
June 16: JOMDC sends offer letter to former faculty inviting them to return as a “Creative Associate” and to join the newly created re-opening committees, but the letter lacks clarity on the role or long-term plans for those who accept
June 23: JOMDC board of directors sends communication to former faculty indicating that that they will step down from their positions
June 25: DMVCODE launches a petition calling for the removal of the Board and leadership; it garners over 2,000 signatures in the first 48 hours
DCist (June 25), WAMU (June 25), and NPR (June 26) publish stories on the racism and discrimination at JOMDC and repeat the call for removal of the Board of Directors.
June 26: JOMDC board of directors send revised letter to the community at large, announcing the appointment of new interim executive directors, confirming PPP loan approval, and saying they will only step down after they have vetted and accepted candidates to replace them
July 2: DMVCODE holds diversity and inclusivity conversation
July 3: JOMDC notifies former faculty that the aforementioned investigation has concluded and “The individual named in the complaint is no longer with the organization.”
July 3: DMVCODE sends list of questions about “creative associate” position to interim JOMDC Executive Directors
July 12: JOMDC Executive Directors send all faculty response to questions without acknowledging DMVCODE letter
July 19: DMVCODE petition has more than 4,500 signatures