Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., President on a Message of Tolerance

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TO: Students, Faculty and Staff

FROM: Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., President

RE: A Message of Tolerance

In my time as President of SJU and in my years in higher education, especially as a former student life professional, I have been on the front lines of addressing incidents involving bias, intimidation and exclusion. It is never easy for anyone involved. It’s complicated. No two situations are ever alike and no single solution can be applied each time. But what has continued to center and guide me through these difficult times is a strong set of Jesuit values that emphasize justice and the care of individuals.
At Saint Joseph’s University, acts of intolerance, hate, harassment and exclusion stand in contrast to our mission, which not only calls for, but insists upon, inclusion, understanding and acceptance. I expect nothing less today or any day.
In the past, I have written to the campus community and shared that few instances bother me more than the harming or exclusion of others. I expect more from our students, faculty and staff. While I may not address our community each time there is the report of an incident, I am always aware, involved, and feel many of the emotions so many of you express: disappointment, confusion, frustration and a desire to make immediate change. Please know that I am confident in and encouraged by the many members of our community working to address these issues, to improve response and communication, to build bridges, brainstorm solutions and defend our values. And to any member of our community who has been harmed, excluded, or experienced the pain of actions by another member of our community, I extend to you both my personal apology as well as an apology on behalf of our entire community.
At Saint Joseph’s, our policies remain as they always have been. Violations of the SJU Community Standards, including harassment, intimidation, discrimination, violence, and vandalism will be investigated in accordance with the procedures laid out in the student, faculty, and employee handbooks.
I wish to reiterate that we are all accountable for upholding our values. They are only as strong as the people who embody them. We have a responsibility to live our mission, to stand up for one another and to step forward when we witness members of our community being treated unfairly or excluded. Challenging times should not be viewed simply as moments for despair and division; they are also opportunities for conversation, self-reflection and productive action.
In my University update message yesterday, I did not include a piece of information that was already planned to be announced more formally in the next week or two. However, let me share in advance that the search for our next chief diversity officer is about to launch. This position will continue to be a member of the University’s senior leadership council, chair the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion (and, as such, report to me in this capacity), report functionally to the Provost and sit on the Provost’s Council, and work administratively under and with the support of the Vice President for Student Life. This relationship allows the chief diversity officer to work closely with multiple constituencies. We have done a lot of good work over the past few years and look forward to continuing our progress positively as a community.
Lastly, I have asked Dr. Cary Anderson to update us all with additional reminders about resources and action steps underway. This will be sent tomorrow.