La Salle establishes Joint Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to enhance and advance equity of campus community
In an effort to foster and enhance an inclusive learning and working environment reflective of its rich heritage and values, La Salle University this fall established the Joint Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The Joint Commission’s charge is multi-pronged, with particular emphasis placed upon La Salle’s effort to become institutionally anti-racist. The charge aims to further develop a diverse and inclusive curriculum; advance equity and inclusion through the University’s structures; ensure a campus environment that upholds individuality and uniqueness; and promote solidarity through Lasallian association.
Work of the Joint Commission is anchored in frank and earnest assessments of existing policies, procedures, and more at La Salle, to ensure the University’s alignment with its mission, said Br. Ernest J. Miller, FSC, D.Min., M.A. ’95, vice president of mission, diversity and inclusion. These critical examinations of culture and institutional infrastructure are part of the Joint Commission’s collaborative, yearlong effort to generate and deliver their recommendations to entire University community at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
“The Joint Commission is critically examining our University culture and institutional infrastructure by rooting our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion through a justice-informed lens,” Br. Ernest said.
Aligning La Salle’s mission and core values with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is a cornerstone of this work. We start with understanding how institutional racism and other forms of oppression impacts our educational community. As a result of our findings, the Joint Commission will offer recommendations to root justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into La Salle’s infrastructure and to ensure accountability.”
“Aligning La Salle’s mission and core values with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is a cornerstone of this work. We start with understanding how institutional racism and other forms of oppression impacts our educational community. As a result of our findings, the Joint Commission will offer recommendations to root justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into La Salle’s infrastructure and to ensure accountability.”
University President Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., and La Salle’s Faculty Senate have co-sponsored the Joint Commission, which consists of persons representing a range of constituent groups—staff, faculty, students, and alumni.
The Joint Commission is chaired by Br. Ernest; Luisa Marcela Ossa, Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish and area coordinator of the Spanish program in the University’s Department of Global Languages, Literatures, and Perspectives; and Shakeya Currie Foreman, J.D., employee and labor relations specialist in the University’s Office of Human Resources.
Launched in September, the Joint Commission’s co-chairs appointed 25 members, including seven alumni, based upon recommendations submitted by members of the campus community. The Joint Commission’s members have since been assigned to workstreams that span academic affairs, student experiences, neighborhood collaboration, and human resources, among other key areas.
The intent behind the workstreams, Br. Ernest said, is to provide “space to focus and organize the activities—the substance—of the Joint Commission’s work.” They, too, allow for smaller group sessions and discussions that could factor into the Commission’s working agenda. Each workstream’s findings will be put forth to the full Commission in late spring, with the entire Commission reviewing, affirming, and finalizing all recommendations before they are shared more widely.
The work of the Joint Commission, Br. Ernest said, centers on the University’s Lasallian Catholic identity and “sustaining a vibrant culture at La Salle in which every person who lives, educates, studies, and works on our campus is embraced with mutual respect and hospitality in the spirit of Lasallian sisterhood and brotherhood.”
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—Christopher A. Vito
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