The 13-point Saint Louis University Clock Tower Accords Accords concluded six days of a peaceful occupation at the campus clock tower that included daily teach-ins and community conversations during October 2014.
The protests occurred following the officer-involved shootings of two African American young men: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and VonDerrit Myers, Jr., in the nearby Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis. These events struck close to home, geographically and literally, as VonDerrit Myers, Sr., belonged to the SLU community for years.
The Accords were neither insisted nor negotiated. They developed as the outcome of many hours of dialogue between student leaders, neighborhood activists, faculty members, administrators and SLU President Dr. Fred Pestello. The pain of racial and economic injustice permeated those discussions, as did the respect and dignity with which all parties treated one another.
Living SLU’s Jesuit Values
No doubt, many watched the moral leadership we collectively exhibited that week and in the months that followed. SLU’s Facebook followers more than doubled to 30,000. Faith, neighborhood and government leaders praised us.
And a year later, SLU had enrolled what was then our second-largest — and most gifted — freshman class. New students and their parents said they chose SLU because of how we lived our Jesuit values. Graduating students remarked that #OccupySLU was a defining moment in their educational experience. First-to-second-year student retention rates also increased. And SLU had its second-best fundraising year ever. Now we turn this energy to commemorating Occupy SLU, revisiting and updating Clock Tower Accords, and continually challenging our institution to strive for inclusive excellence.