Announcing SLU’s New Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Sept. 23, 2020
Dear Members of the SLU Community
Today I write to announce the members of the committee I mentioned in my message earlier this month. As I let you know then, while our leadership team has been committed to making SLU a more equitable, inclusive and diverse place, 2020 has been an ongoing, stark reminder of the importance of this commitment. We heard just as much from broad swaths of our community: students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members. In particular, we heard clearly from our Black community.
This committee will be charged with:
- Reviewing and assessing our progress towards implementing the Clock Tower Accords
- Developing recommendations to supplement and enhance Accords goals
- Developing recommendations to address the concerns brought to us by Black students, staff, faculty and alumni
- Developing a structure to discern our future goals, paths, and timelines to completion
The members of this committee are:
- Dr. Daniel Blash, Vice Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Chief Diversity Officer for the School of Medicine
- Jori T. Brewer, President, Black Student Association
- Belinda Dantley, J.D., Director of Inclusion & Diversity Education, School of Law
- William P. Johnson, Dean, School of Law
- Dr. Michael F. Jones II (’16), President, The Black Alumni Association
- Dr. Debie R. Lohe, Interim Vice President, Student Development
- Dr. Rubén Rosario Rodríguez, Professor, Theology
- Dr. Jonathan Smith, Vice President, Diversity & Community Engagement
- Dr. Christopher Tinson, Director, African American Studies
This committee will work on an accelerated timeline to produce a report with recommended priorities and actionable next steps delivered to Dr. Pestello by the end of the fall term. I do not imagine, however, that this committee will disband upon the production of that report. The speed of this work, as I mentioned previously, is done in the spirit of King’s “fierce urgency of now.” Maintaining some form of this body beyond the fall semester will be done in recognition of the fact that this work, in order to be successful, must be sustained, long-term work.
I will close in the exact manner that I did a few weeks ago: “Let us capitalize on the urgency and devotion moving through the OneSLU spirit right now. Each one of us, whether you have considered it or not, is a shareholder in this critically important work. We share a mutually linked fate. Join me in working to make ours a fully inclusive, equitable, and just community –– one in which all of us can be proud.”
Jonathan Smith, Ph.D.
Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement