Loyola University Chicago

Office of the Provost

Building Bridges

June 2, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In Minneapolis and in the rest of the nation, the smoke is beginning to lift. As it lifts, we see sickening images that are all too familiar to the American eye and that have continued to haunt us since the Colonial Era. We are not talking about images of bullets unleashed against protesters, ransacked stores, and edifices on fire. Instead, to our dismay, we see racism as almost undetectable for how ordinary it is, being so universal, so pervasive, and so entrenched. It inflicts agony, causing our hearts to ache.

We weep as the smoke lifts, but we are not helpless. We draw strength from the mission of Loyola University Chicago: “We are Chicago's Jesuit, Catholic University -- a diverse community seeking God in all things and working to expand knowledge in the service of humanity through learning, justice, and faith.” Conspicuous in this mission statement are the phrases “diverse community” and “service of humanity through learning, justice, and faith.” Our undergraduate population is diverse, with more than 40 percent of the students coming from a historically underrepresented group, a percentage significantly higher than the national mean. This percentage is much higher at our Arrupe College, where 96 percent of students identify themselves as people of color. And importantly, our first-generation college students represent about 30 percent of all undergrads. With such a diverse student body, humanity is our lone nation. Therefore, we cannot consent to racism, which by degrading others, degrades us.

No, we as a community are not helpless, because we pursue service to humanity through research and education that advance justice. Loyola has many illustrations of such service and more in development. However, those existing forms of services are not enough, because our mission, to which we look for inspiration, demands more from us, always more. Loyola abhors racism. This moment of recurrent brutality is a stark and urgent reminder that we are called. We are called to act, we are called to resist injustice in whatever form it takes, we are called to protect one another, and we are called to love. If we do not act on these calls, we risk erecting barriers and widening divides rather than building bridges.

What will we do to build bridges in our pursuit of service to humanity? In the last few months, Loyola has embarked on a journey that will take us to new frontiers in our pursuit to serve society through justice. The provost, deans, faculty, staff, and students have started developing a new academic strategy for service. With this strategy, we will craft new interdisciplinary education and research programs to address the most urgent and complex problems confronting humanity. This strategy benefits from considerable scholarly expertise across our centers and schools that we can direct at these issues from multiple perspectives. Examples of issues include, among others, health and education disparities, violence, and gender equality. Another issue mentioned regularly is racism and its excruciating impact on society. Therefore, we will develop courses and research collaborations to comprehend and address these issues and their ravaging effects on humanity. People from different disciplines will collaborate and share their knowledge. Our students will learn that if we permit racism to split the world into us and them, we will become “them” for somebody else.

The outreach that we have received from Loyola colleagues following the heart-wrenching tragedy of George Floyd’s pointless murder have been moving, gratifying, and inspiring. These communications reaffirm that we are a University that cares. Our Loyola community is already planning responses so that all of us may join, learn, and heal. We have too many responses to list here; however, we are providing several examples.

  • The Institute of Pastoral Studies will lead a service of prayer and reflection via Zoom on Thursday, June 4 from noon to 1 p.m. Listening sessions are also being coordinated with details forthcoming.
  • Arrupe College will be hosting three Zoom sessions for students about racial injustice by Thursday.
  • Paige Gardner, the Interim Director of the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (SDMA), is organizing a community circle for our Black/African American students.
  • Robyn Mallett, the Acting Assistant Provost for Academic Diversity, is planning similar circle events for faculty.
  • The SDMA will also host a workshop addressing anti-blackness and utilizing anti-racist frameworks.
  • The Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility at the Quinlan School of Business is partnering with the Chicago Urban League on Thursday, June 11 at 12 p.m. to host a webinar titled “Understanding and Addressing the Epidemic of Inequities.”
  • Dean Malik Henfield of the School of Education will lead a working group to come up with ideas based in anti-racism research, education, and practice. His efforts will be interdisciplinary and pertaining to every school. These interdisciplinary ideas will be the basis of one of the pillars of the new academic strategy described above.
  • The Graduate, Professional, and Adult Student Constituency Engagement Task Force is looking for coordinated and immediate ways to engage our community around anti-racism.
  • Dean Goutham Menon of the School of Social Work has proposed developing a resource for faculty on how to deal with the topic of race in the classroom. He has also advocated a training program for police in de-escalating encounters. Finally, he has proposed another program to prepare community leaders to deal with mass trauma and nurture reconciliation.

From these initial responses, you can see that our deans, faculty, staff, and students are not just addressing those who are suffering by saying, “You are in our thoughts and prayers.” As President Rooney said in her recent message, our community is moving from grief to action by working together against social injustice. In a time when some elements of society choose to erect walls, Loyolans choose to build bridges.

Together in Loyola,

  • Norberto M. Grzywacz, Provost and Chief Academic Officer
  • Robyn Mallett, Acting Assistant Provost for Academic Diversity
  • Malik S. Henfield, Dean of the School of Education
  • Peter Jones, Dean of the Institute of Pastoral Studies
  • Michael Kaufman, Dean of the School of Law and Vice Provost
  • Kevin Stevens, Dean of the Quinlan School of Business
  • Hong Cheng, Dean of the School of Communication
  • Thomas Regan, S.J., Dean of the College of Arts and Science and of the Graduate School
  • Jeanne Widen, Interim Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies
  • Sam Marzo, Dean of the Stritch School of Medicine
  • Goutham Menon, Dean of the School of Social Work
  • Stephen Katsouros, S.J., Dean of Arrupe College
  • Lorna Finnegan, Dean of the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing
  • Elaine Morrato, Dean of the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health
  • Nancy Tuchman, Dean of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability
  • Marianne Ryan, Dean of University Libraries
  • Sheila McMullan, Executive Vice Provost
  • JoBeth D’Agostino, Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Planning
  • Joanna Pappas, Vice Provost for Finance and Operations
  • David Slavsky, Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness
  • Badia Ahad, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
  • Meharvan (Sonny) Singh, Vice Provost for Research
  • D. Scott Hendrickson, S.J., Associate Provost for Global and Community Engagement
  • Paul Roberts, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Success
  • Tavis Jules, Chairperson of the Faculty Council
  • Susan Uprichard, Chairperson of the Senate
  • Ryan S.C. Wong, President of the Graduate Student Advisory Council
  • Maddie Drescher, President of the Student Government of Loyola Chicago
  • Martin Flores, Vice President of the Student Government of Loyola Chicago
  • Kevin Kennedy, Chair of the Staff Council
  • Steve Watson, Director of Athletics
  • Paige Gardner, Assistant Dean of Students and Interim Director of the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
  • Rachel Shefner, Assistant Provost for Assessment, Accreditation and Regulatory Compliance
  • Seth Green, Director of the Baumhart Center
  • Tim Love, Executive Director for Equity and Compliance, Title IX Coordinator

P.S. If you have questions about Loyola’s Nondiscrimination Policy, Title IX, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VI”), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”), or if you believe you have experienced discrimination based on your membership in a protected class, please contact Tim Love, Executive Director for Equity and Compliance, or another member of the Office for Equity and Compliance, at (773) 508-7766 or equity@LUC.edu, and/or submit a report online at LUC.edu/equity.