Each time an expression of hatred erupts on a college campus, we feel a mixture of shock and dismay. At what point, we wonder, will our efforts to teach empathy and respect yield a more compassionate community? When will our knowledge about the racist history of the United States shape a more perfect union? Yet with each incident we’re reminded that the legacy of that history is deeply rooted, and that – like so many weeds - it spreads easily, even to our own campus. It would be naive to think that racially biased incidents such as those that have recently taken place at Syracuse University cannot happen here, or, more accurately, that they haven’t happened here.
As I contemplate the future, I find hope in a Jesuit pedagogy that calls us to the sites of conflict and even violence; I draw upon the Ignatian intellectual tradition, which insists that we engage even the most fraught and complicated histories. We must continue to work to prevent such incidents and commit to responding with compassion and justice should they occur.
What we aim for at Le Moyne is an environment where frank and respectful discussions about difficult issues can take place, guided by respect for all and careful, critical thinking. While we will not tolerate hate speech, it is not our goal to develop one opinion and silence all others, but to develop the tools for dialogue that foster creative thinking and genuine community.
Never have I felt more strongly in the urgency of a Jesuit education. Our mission - to teach our students to engage the world ethically, to create a more just and compassionate world - has never been more relevant and necessary. While I know that this struggle will be ongoing, I have faith in the courage and integrity of our faculty, our students, and the staff and administrators at Le Moyne. We will stand united against hatred and ignorance, wherever and whenever it surfaces.
In the message below, Provost Joe Marina S.J. and Dr. Tabor Fisher, assistant to the provost for Diversity and Inclusion, provide specific initiatives that the College is working on. In the meantime, I ask all of you to reflect upon the dignity of each human person and remember that Le Moyne is a family formed around the table of Jesuit values. We are a community focused on education, excellence and the promotion of the common good. So let us always remember the words of St. Ignatius: “Love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than in words.”
Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.
Le Moyne has been working and will continue to work to promote awareness about the history of race and to combat racism and hate wherever it raises its head. As you know, we have just concluded an historic campus-wide climate study to better understand the issues we face in providing a welcoming environment to all. The results of that survey will be announced next Spring, along with recommended action steps, once all of the data has been analyzed. In the meantime:
· We are running a six-month long faculty development seminar on inclusive pedagogy;
· We are providing Safe Zone training for faculty and staff;
· We are developing new hiring guidelines to promote diversity among our faculty;
· We have instituted the Diversity Central series of events, to provide awareness and discussion around issues of diversity and equity on a regular basis;
· We are exploring ways to incentivize the inclusion of more social justice themes and issues in COR 100.
This list of initiatives will continue to grow in the semesters ahead. As we strive to make Le Moyne a more equitable community, it is important that we respond to any and all bias-related incidents promptly and effectively. If you experience or witness such an event, please fill out the bias-related incident reporting form. You can find that form and other helpful resources here. (If this link does not work for you, please cut and paste this URL into your browser: https://www.lemoyne.edu/Values/A-Diverse-Learning-Community/Resources-for-Students.)
Lastly, as we continue to engage with these difficult issues, feel free to contact us with any thoughts, complaints, concerns or suggestions you might have.
Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
Joseph Marina, S.J.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs