To the La Salle community:
In June, the University’s Interim President and Faculty Senate President released a report from La Salle’s Joint Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, titled Begin Again: Truth and Transformation. The report elevates to the University recommendations for consideration based on an abundance of research, data, and best and next practices to determine how to best weave equity, diversity, and inclusion—through a justice lens—into the fabric of our campus environment.
In the message announcing the report’s completion, the University identified nine recommendations that it would begin implementing this academic year.
What follows is a status update on the implementation of these recommendations, in addition to other initiatives.
In addition to the above recommendations, additional JEDI activities are under way. They include:
Proposal for Black Studies: Luisa Ossa, Ph.D., professor of global languages, literatures and perspectives, is leading the development of a proposal for a Black Studies program.
Climate surveys: The Appendix of the Commission’s report holds limited data from the Faculty and Staff Climate Surveys. Appreciatively, Caitlin Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and criminal justice, and Daniel Rodriguez, Ph.D., professor of public health, will continue the necessary work of conducting further analyses on these two surveys. Furthermore, they will determine to what extent the Student Climate Survey appropriately represents our overall student population.
Community circles: Called “Healing Ourselves through Moments of Empathy” (HOME), the community circle is an opportunity to create a compassionate and welcoming space for the University community to reflect and listen in small affinity group settings to digest and internalize the Commission’s report. In addition, it is an opportunity to be present to another in these times in a spirit of Lasallian association. The JEDI Campus Team of staff and faculty members from across the University trained in the healing circle methodology is organizing the sessions for student, staff, and faculty affinity groups.
In the spirit of together and by association, these times beckon us to weave equity, diversity, and inclusion—through a lens of justice—into the fabric of our whole campus environment. Because of our Lasallian Catholic character, our University can advance the development of a campus community comfortable with and capable of investigating, questioning, and celebrating differences. Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, Ed.D., ’72, Superior General, Brothers of the Christian Schools, asserts: “Lasallians are people who live in solidarity with neighbors near and far, who witness to fraternity, where the dignity of everyone is respected and honored.” He calls us to recommit to our educational mission “to bring healing and unity to our communities, our schools, and our societies.” It requires wisdom and knowledge, discernment and courage. Let us continue to set about this mission boldly.
Ernest J. Miller, FSC, D. Min., M.A. ’95
Vice President of Mission, Diversity, and Inclusion