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A Message on #ScholarStrike

September 2, 2020

Dear members of the SLU community,

As Dr. Jonathan Smith said in his recent message, our mission requires that we continue to confront the racial disparities on our campus, in this country and across the world. He calls on us to actively work to bring such atrocities to an end.

You may have heard of a recent movement within the academic community called #ScholarStrike. This faculty-led initiative aims to bring awareness to racial inequities, similar to recent work stoppages in the NBA, WNBA, and other professional sports. This nationwide initiative is planned for next week on Sept. 8 and 9.

Saint Louis University promotes freedom of speech and expression and views them as foundational to our Catholic, Jesuit identity, as well as to the Academy. Thus, we expect a number of our faculty members to join in this effort, and we support their right to do so.

On these days, some faculty will support #ScholarStrike by using class time to discuss racial inequities and related issues. Other faculty will encourage students to attend teach-ins or engage in activities designed to build awareness of issues related to racism and oppression. Additionally, for a variety of reasons, still other faculty will abstain from participation and continue with their syllabi as planned. We support this choice, as well.

The choices of individual faculty, or other individual members of the SLU community, as to how they will or will not participate are just that – their own individual choices. Nonetheless, as a matter of human rights, the University has made its belief known. As Dr. Smith said, we need to continue pressing onward in areas where we have progressed, and address areas where we are deficient. Our mission, values, and commitment to each other requires it. We look forward to continuing to provide the support and resources necessary to address this vitally important work. There is much yet to do.

May God bless each of you and Saint Louis University.

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.

Michael Lewis, Ph.D.
Interim Provost