Across the country, university students, including those at DePaul, are raising necessary questions about the racial climate on college campuses—questions fueled by acts of police brutality, a lack of communication and understanding between the groups involved and the presidential election. Diverse students, specifically African American students, are voicing their intolerance of a campus environment that does not support their learning, success or safety.
As a human community, DePaul itself is not immune to racism or sexism. Last spring, a series of incidents combined to expose deep divides within our community and opened the door to a multitude of questions about the limits of free speech and the role of race in society.
In response, town hall meetings were held with students, faculty and staff to hear perspectives about what occurred on campus and people’s thoughts on making DePaul a more inclusive environment. That feedback was combined with work that had already been begun by the Black Student Union and contributed to an action plan, contained on this site, to move the university forward. The plan aims to provide for the safety of our students, faculty and staff; examine practices and policies in need of updating and revision; and strengthen the bonds of friendship and support among us.
In the 2016-17 academic year, DePaul will develop and implement both short- and long-term initiatives to address issues of racism, speech and social justice. Each of these initiatives has been suggested by some member of the campus community. Almost certainly more ideas will be suggested in the coming year and will be added to this list.
From its founding day, DePaul has sought to welcome a diverse community of people, often unwelcomed in other places in higher education. As we undertake serious and sustained action on behalf of our commitments, we know that these issues will not be resolved overnight; DePaul will continue to grapple with the important questions of the day as they arise, this year and in the years to come. Our efforts this year will provide a rich space for dialogue and transformation as our community works toward a more inclusive campus that embraces diversity in its many dimensions. Throughout this process we will hold steadfast to our commitment to diversity and the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented students, faculty and staff.
Thank you for your commitment and intention to work together in thoughtful actions to help DePaul reach its aspirational goals of being a truly diverse institution that respects the human dignity of each and every member of our community.
God bless you.
Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.