Message Sent To:All Faculty, All Staff, All Students
Message From:Message from the Office of the President
Date Sent:Wednesday, April 28, 2021 03:00 PM CDT

Progress Report on "In Support of Black Students"

April 28, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We are entering the final week of spring semester classes in what has been an extraordinary academic year. We have much to reflect on, including compelling reminders of racial injustice in our nation. Last week’s verdict and other recent events remind us that we are called to recognize the harsh realities that many Black communities face at this critical time. We are also called to act within our own institution.

Last year, a coalition of student groups led by the Black Cultural Center (BCC) put forth “In Support of Black Students: 2020 Suggestions and Recommendations.” Their document contained a set of 10 recommendations to guide the work of Loyola University Chicago to improve Black student life and success. Since then, the Loyola community has engaged in numerous conversations to discuss those recommendations. Students, administrators, faculty, and staff worked together to identify opportunities for the University to better support our Black students. We have also been discussing ways to better support Black faculty and staff.

Today, the BCC and Loyola administrators share with you a progress report on where our collaborative work stands. In the past year, we have accomplished the following together:

  • Implemented a mandatory module on diversity, equity, and inclusion for all incoming new students
  • Expanded mental health resources for Black students
  • Established planning and funding for a Black student congratulatory celebration
  • Concluded the investigation of the racial bias incident at the Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (SDMA) event in June 2020

Additionally, ongoing work includes:

  • Launching the Office of Black Student Success in fall 2021
  • Growing the Black Living-Learning Community (LLC)
  • Refining Campus Safety initiatives

A full report with details of this work and next steps can be found on our Anti-Racism Initiative (ARI) website.

While we recognize progress has been made, the work does not stop here. We have much more to do, and we will continue to share updates with our community on additional progress. It will include the search for the Vice President of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the establishment of the Institute for Racial Justice.

In the meantime, Loyola wants to extend our deep gratitude to the BCC, along with the many other representative student leaders and co-signers of “In Support of Black Students.” Through their thoughtful and diligent work, they are helping make Loyola a better place to learn, work, and live. We know that this work is not easy. We admire your leadership, strength, and determination during what has been an extremely difficult year for our Black community.

On behalf of the administrators and leadership of Loyola, President Rooney and Provost Grzywacz want to extend congratulations to BCC Co-President Elise Purnsley, who is graduating this semester. Co-President Connor Elmore is a rising senior, and the University looks forward to continuing to work with him and incoming BCC Co-Presidents Char Coates and Morgan Smith.


Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD

Norberto Grzywacz
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Elise Purnsley
Co-President, Black Cultural Center

Connor Elmore
Co-President, Black Cultural Center