Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO, VP ‘repudiate’ ‘privilege’ definition in diversity newsletter following backlash

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The president and the dean of Johns Hopkins Medicine said that they “repudiate” language in a newsletter from the school’s Office of Diversity that used a “definition of privilege that runs counter to the values of our institution.”

The original newsletter claimed that “males,” “White people,” “middle-aged people” and “able-bodied people” among other groups benefit from “privilege,” which was the “Diversity Word of the Month” for the January 2024 issue of its Monthly Diversity Digest.

“Privilege is an unearned benefit given to people who are in a specific social group. Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels, and it provides advantages and favors to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of other groups,” the newsletter read.

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On Thursday, Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Sherita H. Golden apologized over the wording of the definition for “privilege,” saying she “deeply” regretted the “overly simplistic and poorly worded” newsletter, which she said “had the opposite effect of being exclusionary and hurtful to members of our community.” 

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While it’s unclear whether Golden will face any disciplinary action, Theodore L. DeWeese, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Kevin W. Sowers, Executive Vice President, doubled down on Golden’s apology in a letter addressed to “colleagues,” saying the definition “runs counter to the values of our institution, and our mission and commitment to serve everyone equally.” 

“Dr. Golden heard the feedback from our community, sincerely apologized and retracted the definition. We fully support and appreciate her decision to do so, and as leaders of Johns Hopkins Medicine, we, too, repudiate this language,” they wrote, according to X, formerly Twitter, account @EndWokeness, which obtained the letter. 

It added, “For us as a community, we hope this can be an opportunity for reflection on how we build bridges and connection even around challenging topics.” 

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 Fox News Digital has reached out to Johns Hopkins Medicine for comment.

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