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Statement on Harmful Content In Digitized Archival Collections

The Simmons University Archives’ digitized collections aim to preserve and make available materials relating to the history, development, and operations of Simmons University. We recognize that Simmons, as both an academic and historic institution, has historically produced or published records that our current community will find offensive, racist, and harmful. Historical records can, and often do, contain content and imagery that illustrates harmful, offensive, and stereotypical depictions of marginalized communities, people of color, those who identify as LBGTQ, and people with disabilities.

The University Archives does not condone any harmful, racist, or offensive content that may be found within these digitally accessible collections. Our aim is only to make these materials available for research and educational purposes for the purposes of equal and equitable access. As such, we commit to:

  1. Flagging the inclusion of harmful, offensive, and racist materials on a collection level, indicating where this content is most likely to be encountered within any given collection

  2. Ensuring that our digital archival description is transparent, preserves context without remediating offensive or racist language, privileges individual self-identification in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation, and, when including quotations from harmful material, clearly articulates the source of that quotation

  3. Ensuring that we are transparent in our digitization prioritizations and procedures, workflows, and decision-making processes

We encourage users to bring questions and concerns about material and description to the Archives’ attention by emailing us at All concerns will be addressed by our staff and we commit to clear and transparent communication concerning the resolution process. Final responsibility for decision-making to address these concerns will fall to the University Archivist.

The Simmons University Digital Archives was created with the desire to make our materials equally and equitably available. As part of this effort, the inclusion of harmful, offensive, and racist materials is meant to provide a transparent and truthful account of the history of the University.


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