Supporting Our Black Students and Peaceful Protests
August 28, 2020
As we complete the first week of our extraordinary Fall Semester 2020, we acknowledge our students responding to calls for positive change after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, and many more, including the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Division of Student Development (DSD) affirms that Black lives matter. We acknowledge the stories that students—especially Black-identified students—have shared with us about their experiences at Loyola University Chicago.
As a Jesuit, Catholic university, Loyola actively strives to help solve society’s most complex challenges. We support peaceful protests and students’ rights to express their opinions and perspectives. We welcome and commit to facilitating constructive dialogue and discussion about these important issues of our day. We have done so this past summer and will continue to do so.
We commend our student protest organizers who have raised their voices this past week for demonstrating peacefully, respectfully, responsibly, and safely in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in their thoughtful promotion of safe practices via social media ahead of their planned protests.
In response to President Jo Ann Rooney’s call for action and positive change, this past June a coalition of Loyola student organizations led by the Black Cultural Center (BCC) shared a document titled “In Support of Black Students: 2020 Suggestions and Recommendations.” Since receiving the list of suggestions and recommendations, members of the Loyola community, including students, administrators, faculty, and staff, have engaged in numerous meetings and conversations through the summer that will continue into the school year. Attached is a link to updates on the progress being made by the University on these constructive recommendations presented by BCC; Student Government of Loyola University Chicago; Arrupe College Black Student Union; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Theta Chapter; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Mu Phi Chapter; Pre-Law Minority Student Association; Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students; and Financial Flex.
Also, in light of the debate within our country about the role of law enforcement and our own Campus Safety department, Loyola remains interested in learning more about the various reform proposals brought forth that aim to deepen trust and safety across all communities and neighborhoods. You can find the University’s position and clarifying statements on our working relationship with the Chicago Police Department both in the progress document and on the Campus Safety website.
We know that our work as a University community is far from complete, and that together we will continue to make meaningful change through listening, collaboration, and dialogue. As in all of our relationships, multiple voices and perspectives ensure rigorous discussions and enrich our thinking. As an institution of higher education, we value civil discourse, and at times, know that we will agree to disagree respectfully and with open minds and hearts. This is what leads to improvement and long-lasting solutions as we look to make a difference for Loyola and our world.
In the coming weeks and months, the Division of Student Development, along with the Office of the President and Office of the Provost, will provide periodic updates on all of our work around the Anti-Racism Initiative.
In the meantime, we are aware of both our own planned student protests and other larger gatherings expected this weekend. We trust our students to exercise your constitutional rights in a safe and peaceful manner (as you have been doing) in accordance with Loyola Community Standards. Your safety and well-being remain our top priority. Please know that you as Ramblers make us proud and inspire us to contribute positively to a strong community and just society.
Yours in Loyola,
Vice President for Student Development
Assistant Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students