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MIT urban-affairs expert with deep Boston roots named first chief of equity and inclusion

COVID-19 Media Availability 6/29/20

Mayor Walsh today named Karilyn Crockett, currently a lecturer in urban affairs at MIT as the city's first chief of equity and inclusion, whose goal with be to get the city's minority residents a fairer shake at getting ahead.

Crockett, who was born in Dorchester and who attended Boston schools before going to Yale to earn three degrees, including a doctorate in American studies, knows about the struggle firsthand from her family - her grandmother was one of the plaintiffs in the 1972 federal suit that led to the 1974 school-desegregation case.

After being introduced by the mayor at a City Hall press conference this afternoon, Crockett began by noting Boston sits on land once occupied by the Massachusett tribe.

And she said Boston City Hall has for too long been a haven for racism and exclusion, mirroring that of the city as a whole. "What good is it to hear you live in a prosperous and thriving city" where racism and exclusion keep you from a better life, she asked. She said her family came north to Boston in search of a better life, but instead found a city "closed to their dreams, their abilities and their needs."

Busing, she said, was "a fiery state of crisis." Today we are in another fiery state of both a pandemic and continued discrimination, she continued.

She added that one difference between now and the 1970s, when the elected School Committee repeatedly rejected calls for not just desegregation but equal funding and supplies for schools serving Black neighborhoods, is the willingness of government actually help and join in. "Mr. Mayor, welcome to the conversation," she said.

Crockett will oversee several existing City Hall programs aimed at minority and immigrant residents in an attempt to bring an "equity lens" to all city departments and programs. Before going to MIT, she spent two years as director of small-business development for Mayor Walsh.
Even as she spoke, a City Council committee was looking at continued low involvement of minority and women-owned businesses in the market for city contracts.



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According to the MIT webpage for Dr. Crockett, she is Assistant Professor of Urban History, Public Policy & Planning, not just a lecturer. In academia, which is very hierarchical, this is an important distinction.


Linkedin says lecturer. The key distinction usually boils down to whether an appointment is tenure-track or not.

The MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning quite clearly lists her as:

Karilyn Crockett
Assistant Professor of Urban History, Public Policy & Planning

Just go to the below link to see for yourself. They list some people as lecturers, so the two are obviously not seen as the same.


Please, show me an academic who hasn't updated linkedin after their first appointment to assistant or associate. As you said, it's a hierarchy.

Thanks, Ron Newman.

so I'm not sure what you are thanking me for




MIT, Cambridge, Smoots.

When I worked in Dorchester I encountered her several times when she was with the city and she is a great speaker/presenter. She seems especially good at taking complicated concepts and presenting them in a way that is approachable.


End zoning laws. End of discussion.

Addressing zoning may well be of great benefit to minority residents and business, but "end of discussion"? Absolutely not. Libertarians would be a little easier to take seriously if not for their habit of writing off all the parts of complex, multi-faceted problems they don't find interesting.

Not sure how much this new position will pay, but I think we're fooling ourselves to think anybody -- not just minority residents -- will have much chance of getting ahead any time soon. On every level we are in for a world of hurt economically.


Boston Globe article states a $160K salary. Honestly, I don't see this as starting off on the right foot for this department. While I'm sure she's beyond qualified and has the ivy league degrees, wouldn't a candidate with a degree from Roxbury Community College or the newly absorbed Pine Manor College have made a bigger impact? I'm sure that she will do a great job, but the staff in this newly created department will start probably around $50K. Where is the equity? Do all Cabinet members start at this salary? Wow.


Combined, with all the Mayor's cabinet behind him you are looking at $1,000,000 minimum in city money annually being paid.

I heard her speak when she released her book "People Before Highways" about the successful fight to block I-95 from extending through Roxbury, the South End, and East Cambridge.

Check it out: https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/people-highways