A Message from the President – November 18, 2016

On Monday, I wrote to the University community to reaffirm our values at Saint Joseph’s University and indicate that it is time for us to stand together as a community, in peace, solidarity, understanding, and compassion. Since sending, I have received the most feedback on any of my messages to date. Students, faculty, and staff have shared a range of comments including appreciation and gratitude for what I said, questions about the need and appropriateness of saying anything at all, and disappointment that my message was not more forceful and explicit in condemning acts of intolerance or discrimination on our campus.

As I wrote earlier, I still firmly believe that a clear majority of our community members instinctively do and will continue to promote inclusivity even when we differ, but we are not perfect and unfortunately, we sometimes fail and fall short of our mission and expectations.

It has been shared with me that some members of our community have been subject to harassing or threatening words or actions over the past week. Some are feeling or believe they are unsafe on our campus. Some are questioning the concern and support of the University’s leadership.

I write to state unequivocally and emphatically that acts of intolerance, hate, discrimination, or harassment are in direct conflict with our mission, identity, and values at Saint Joseph’s.  Such acts have no place here.  They stand in stark contrast to the Jesuit and Catholic heritage of the University, as well as basic human dignity. On a personal note, few instances, if any, bother me more than when someone intentionally seeks to cause harm to another or make someone feel unwelcome or excluded from our community.

Violations of the SJU Community Standards, including harassment, intimidation, discrimination, violence, and vandalism will be investigated in accord with the procedures laid out in the student, faculty, and employee handbooks. Incidents that involve criminal actions will be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

As we work to hold ourselves accountable, one challenge can be ensuring that community members who are victimized report harassment and crimes. It can be difficult for those in vulnerable positions to come forward, and so it is incumbent upon all of us to be strong for one another. If you witness something, report it. If you know a victim or someone who is hurting, support them and lead them to the appropriate area for help. If you are a victim, lean on someone you trust, be they a friend, professor, advisor, or campus minister who can help you make a report.

We are collectively responsible for preserving our values.

Here are some important points of contact.

Public Safety & Security:  13 Barbelin Hall, 610-660-1111

Student Life (Community Standards):  239B Campion Student Center, 610-660-1046

Title IX Coordinators (titleIX@sju.edu):

Dr. Mary Elaine Perry, 610-660-1145 (for all members of University community)
Thomas Sheibley, 610-660-3125 (for all students)
Renie Shields, 610-660-2584 (for Athletics)
Nancy DuBoise, 610-660-3313 (for employees and all others)

Bias Incident Reporting

Additional information about support services and offices, such as Counseling & Psychological Services, Office of Residence Life, Office of Inclusion & Diversity, Campus Ministry, and others, can be found on SJU.edu or The Nest.

Thank you for your continued attention to and support of one another.