Message Sent To:All Faculty, All Staff, All Students
Message From:Message from the Office of the President
Date Sent:Thursday, September 10, 2020 03:56 PM CDT

Updates on the Anti-Racism Initiative

September 10, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The country continues to grapple with newer revelations of racial injustice. Recently, they have included the late-August shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to details surrounding the March arrest and death of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York. These recent examples contribute to the pain of our nation as it wrestles with racism. Sustained protests remind us that these racial injustices are still unfolding in our own communities. Loyola University Chicago is committed to examining our own inadequacies and acting to improve the climate for members of historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups.

Since June 11, Loyola’s Anti-Racism Initiative working group has been meeting weekly with students, faculty, and staff. They aim to address the issues of racism raised by our community. The goal is to move Loyola closer to our aim of becoming an anti-racist institution. For this purpose, we have identified several concrete goals that we are working towards, as well as ideas that will need continued community input. These goals are collected in a new website dedicated to the Anti-Racism Initiative.

The first goal of the Anti-Racism Initiative is to create a safe, respectful, and welcoming environment for students, faculty, and staff of color. This goal will be achieved in collaboration with the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Division of Student Development, and Campus Safety. A subgoal will be to strengthen the relationship between our Office of Campus Safety and the Loyola community. This will involve considering integrative approaches to campus safety that may include greater coordination with student development, wellness, and mental health services. We will also revisit student, faculty, and staff dispute resolution procedures. Moreover, the University will provide evidence-based bias training for students, faculty, and staff. The goal of this training will be to help individuals identify and interrupt bias in themselves and others. The senior administrative team comprising the cabinet was the first unit to participate in the training. Several other units will take the training this semester. They include Enrollment Management, Undergraduate Admission, the Office of the Provost, and units performing faculty searches. In time, we will extend the training across the University.

The Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Division of Student Development will deepen collaborations with the Anti-Racism Initiative. The collaboration will facilitate the success of students, faculty, and staff from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups. As a first step, the University is establishing a Black Student Experience task force. It will make recommendations about how to improve this experience, perhaps through the creation of an office of Black Student Success or other mechanisms. Furthermore, the University will increase professional development opportunities for students, faculty, and staff of color. We will implement evidence-based mentoring practices and models to support these members of our community. And we will review access to culturally aware wellness resources for Loyolans from historically marginalized groups.

Within the Office of the Provost, we are working to improve the climate for faculty of color. In the coming weeks we will conduct a survey of students, faculty, and staff to gather community input about goals and strategies of the Anti-Racism Initiative. We are also developing strategies for increasing the hiring and retention of under-represented faculty. This development will involve outlining clear grievance procedures and accountability structures. The deans will facilitate self-studies within each academic unit to assess academic policies and practices. These self-studies, which we will complete by December, will inspect curriculum, pedagogy, hiring, and departmental culture. Academic units will use the results of their self-studies to inform the creation of a strategic plan that will include benchmarks for progress toward stated goals by May 2021.

Student, faculty, and staff involvement in the Anti-Racism Initiative will continue to expand as we pursue its goals. Please look out for future communications from the Initiative. Its members look forward to joining you in community to transform Loyola into an institution that seeks justice for our most marginalized members. Most people have experienced being unnoticed, disregarded, and marginalized at some point in their life. Let us channel this experience to cultivate compassion and work together to make Loyola a place where everyone feels included and able to reach their full potential.

Together in Loyola,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD

Norberto Grzywacz, PhD
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Robyn Mallett, PhD
Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Planning
Director of the Anti-Racism Initiative