Report of the Joint Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

College hall in Spring

Launching our justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion strategic planning process

To the University community:

With co-sponsorship from the Office of the President and La Salle Faculty Senate, the University’s Joint Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion formed last fall and embarked upon its critically important work toward advancing La Salle’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Nine months later, the Joint Commission offered a briefing to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the Executive Cabinet, and the University’s Board of Trustees. The briefing was accompanied by a comprehensive report with recommendations for the University’s consideration that are intended to enrich our campus environment and facilitate institutional discernment and strategic planning to achieve inclusive excellence and equity. The report has elevated to the University an abundance of data, research, best and next practices, and recommendations for consideration as we determine how to best move forward together toward a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive University community.

Begin Again - Truth and Transformation - Report of the Joint CommissionWith the support of the Board of Trustees, we will launch a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) strategic planning process ahead of the University’s next strategic plan. This process will include a thorough review and contemplation of the Joint Commission’s report, Begin Again: Truth and Transformation, and further engagement with various University constituents, in order to prioritize and operationalize our JEDI work.

As we prepare to move into this JEDI strategic planning process, we have identified the first set of initiatives that we will begin implementing immediately:

  • Dedicate new resources, including at least one staff position, to operationalize, manage and track the University’s JEDI work.
  • Revise La Salle’s equal employment opportunity/anti-harassment policy to incorporate an ombudsperson process for informal resolutions.
  • Create a bias response team and process that is streamlined, forward-facing, and run appropriately.
  • Expand the scope of the University’s Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Faculty document to include all University employees.
  • Join the Place-Based Justice Network as recognition of our institutional commitment to combat systems of oppression.
  • Improve the internal infrastructure to measure and track inclusionary practices for supplier diversity and local hiring.
  • Establish a comprehensive set of supplier diversity and local hiring policies for University procurement activity with performance metrics.
  • Recruit and hire members of underrepresented minority groups for faculty positions and enhance their retention by providing the support and opportunities necessary for their professional development and success.
  • Hire multilingual, Black, indigenous, and other people of color, and culturally knowledgeable staff throughout the University.

The completion of the report represents the culmination of the Joint Commission’s work. The Office of Mission, Diversity, and Inclusion will lead the JEDI strategic planning process, including the construction of cross-functional teams that will help bring to fruition the next chapter of this planning phase. We will share more details in the fall.

We are thankful to the Joint Commission’s co-chairs for shepherding this important effort. The co-chairs are: Luisa Marcela Ossa, Ph.D., associate professor and area coordinator of Spanish; Shakeya Currie Foreman, J.D., employee and labor relations specialist; and Br. Ernest J. Miller, FSC, D.Min, M.A. ’95, Vice President of Mission, Diversity, and Inclusion.

We also are thankful to each of the Joint Commission’s members—an array of current students, alumni, faculty, staff, and Christian Brothers—for contributing their time, talents, resources, and perspectives. This work was not easy and required a great degree of compassion, thoughtfulness, and selflessness.

We are grateful for the members of our community who participated in the Joint Commission’s listening sessions and responded to the campus climate survey. Your anonymous testimony has called attention to our deficiencies, opened wounds, and, simultaneously, identified areas of change and possibility for our University.

Over these last nine months, we have learned a great deal about our past through the personal experiences and perspectives of those in our community, as they relate to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. These aforementioned efforts and contributions, collectively, have revealed that we undoubtedly have work to do. Drawing on the fruitfulness of the Lasallian heritage, and our mission and core values, La Salle University is prepared to move forward in its goal of achieving a more just and equitable academic, professional, and social environment.

Sincerely,

Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85
Interim President

Swee-Lim Chia, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Co-Chair, Department of Marketing
President, University Faculty Senate