Office of Inclusion and Diversity Updates- December 12, 2016

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TO:          Saint Joseph’s University Students
FROM:    Jeanne F. Brady, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
………….Cary Anderson, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Life and Associate Provost
RE:         Office of Inclusion and Diversity Updates

We are pleased to share several inclusion-related updates with the student body that have taken place since we welcomed Monica L. Nixon, Ed.D., as Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity in late August.

First, the new Center for Inclusion and Diversity will launch in its renovated space in Campion Student Center Suite 210 in January.  Join us, President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., and the Inclusion and Diversity staff at the grand opening of the center on Tuesday, January 24, from 11am to 12:15pm. All in the University community are encouraged to attend the center’s opening.

Second, as a result of a productive conversation with several student organizations the President and Provost will host a dialogue on inclusion, diversity and transparency in early February.  Details regarding the event will be sent shortly after you return for the Spring semester.  

Third, we have added International Student Services (ISS) to the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, which already includes Student Inclusion and Diversity (formerly the Office of Multicultural Life), Inclusion and Diversity Access Programs (formerly Ignatian College Connection), the Women’s Center, and LGBTQ Programs. Bringing together these five units under one organizational umbrella allows the University to leverage considerable strengths in each of the areas and provides a platform for deeper collaborations. 

Fourth, Dr. Nixon is working closely with the University Student Senate to establish a Student Inclusion Advisory Group to advise the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and University leaders. In his capacity as Inclusion and Diversity Chair for Student Senate, Alim Young, Class of 2019, will co-chair the advisory group with Dr. Nixon. The advisory group will add its voice to those of the students serving on the President’s Council on Inclusion and Diversity, which President Reed appointed in October.

Finally, at the request of the President, Dr. Nixon has joined the University Leadership Council, a cross-institutional team composed of the vice presidents, deans, and other key leaders. She already serves on the Provost Council and the Student Life Leadership Team, and this most recent appointment positions Dr. Nixon well to advance inclusion initiatives across the institution.

More information regarding activities and services of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity can be found at www.sju.edu/oid.

We wish you well as the semester draws to a close.

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.

Reaffirming Our Values at SJU-A Statement from President Reed

Following last week’s election, events unfolding across the country and on college campuses in our own region have been weighing on me, as I’m sure they have been on all of you. This weekend, I spent considerable time reflecting on how these events are impacting our own campus community and what I might say, especially to students, to encourage us to move forward peacefully, respectfully, and compassionately.

In my reflection, I kept returning to the tremendous faith I have in our community to protect and care for one another, and my strong belief that we will instinctively promote inclusion even when we differ. As Dr. Monica Nixon, assistant provost for Inclusion & Diversity, with my full support, so perfectly expressed in her message to campus last week, “What we do at Saint Joseph’s University is more important than ever.”

And so I was not at all surprised to hear that so many of you made time to come together for last Thursday’s post-election dialogue. Grounded in our mission, it is time for us to stand together as a community, in peace, solidarity, understanding and compassion. We must understand that our own community on Hawk Hill includes those who are celebrating the victory of the candidate they supported, those who are grieving and sense a true loss, and, regrettably, those who feel scared, uncomfortable, and even unsafe. The feelings of our colleagues, friends and classmates are genuine. We must be mindful of them and demonstrate compassion toward one another.

I would like to reiterate my support for our continued efforts to make Saint Joseph’s a place where the dignity of each person is ensured.  All incidents that violate our community standards should be reported immediately.  If you have wider concerns about yourself, friends, or family at this time, please seek out a staff or faculty member and the full services that the University offers.

Lastly, I am reminded of a question that Pope Francis asked his audience during the Mass he celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul during his visit to Philadelphia last year, “What about you? What are you going to do?”  I invite each of us to consider these simple, yet powerful questions. Times of challenge are always ripe with opportunity. Let us face our challenges honestly, openly address what may be uncomfortable and not miss the chance to grow as a community and emerge even stronger.

 

Dr. Nixon’s Post-Election Statement

I spent much of the day yesterday with students, faculty and staff processing what this week’s Presidential Election says about who we are as a nation and as a campus. There are those in our community who are celebrating the election of a president who represents change. Others in our community feel bewildered, unsafe and in the shadows, and that should matter to all of us.

The historical legacies of racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, heterosexism and classism run deep in our country, and it is clear that we are a divided nation with very different ideas about what progress means. We must seek to understand the perspectives of all those who have felt left behind during recent decades of economic and social change, and we must affirm the safety of those whose civil rights and human dignity are under threat. If nothing else, this election highlighted the urgent need for a new generation of leaders who are committed to bridging divides and pursuing justice.

What we do at Saint Joseph’s University is more important than ever. Last week Dr. Reed wrote a letter to the SJU community in the The Hawk, in which he shared, “Your Jesuit education sharpens your intellect, tunes your moral compass, and calls you to be active and engaged citizens and forces for good in the world.” Our world faces very real challenges, which was the case last week and last year and long before that. As a Catholic, Jesuit university, we live up to our mission based on how we treat those who have less power in our society.

I urge us to be kind, to listen for understanding and to avoid explaining away that which makes us uncomfortable. We have the choice to be a community that is fractured or a community in which each person’s safety and learning matter to all of us. I hope we aspire to the clarion call of the collective, because that is the promise of a Saint Joseph’s education.

Some of us find strength in community, so the Office of Inclusion and Diversity is offering a space later this morning to process together. Join us for “Making Sense of the Presidential Election” at 11:00 a.m. (Campion Student Center, Doyle Banquet Hall South) and in future opportunities for dialogue. I also encourage you to reach out individually to members of our community to offer and ask for support. Take care of yourself, and keep a special eye on those in our community who feel marginalized.

Thank you as we move forward in solidarity.

 

Dr. Reed’s Statement on Orlando


A Message from President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D. on Orlando Tragedy

 

Last weekend’s horrific events in Orlando are surely close in the minds and hearts of us all. I write to affirm and assure those in our community who are LGBTQ that Saint Joseph’s University stands with you. It is our collective responsibility to seek justice, combat fear and promote unity.

Members of our community gathered on Tuesday to pray, not only for the victims of this tragedy and their families, but for peace and understanding in our world. Those prayers will continue, as will our efforts to advance inclusion and embrace diversity.

Any members of the community who may be having particular difficulty in the wake of this weekend’s events, are encouraged to seek support. Alex Daniels-Iannucci, Associate Director of Student Success & Inclusion can be reached at 610-660-1105 or aiannucc@sju.edu and the Counseling and Psychological Services Office is available at 610-660-1090.