President Robert L. Manuel > Notes from Rob > 2023-24 > Responses to Divestment Coalition demands

Responses to Divestment Coalition demands

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

For the past week, I have been working with our Board of Trustees, the leadership in the Western Province of the Congregation of the Mission, senior administrators, leaders in the larger Chicago community, and, through the Engagement Team, the Divestment Coalition student leaders and faculty advisors. 

I invite you to read the university’s full and complete responses to the Divestment Coalition’s demands. I recognize that there will be a desire to focus on specific pieces. I urge you to take the time to see how interrelated and mission consistent these responses are. They are guided by a focus on creating a collective future, a devotion to freedom of speech and academic freedom, and empathy for all involved. 

I had hoped to share the responses with the Divestment Coalition student leaders in a meeting today. We were not able to come to an agreement on conditions for a meeting. In the continued spirit of good faith engagement, I - along with the entire administration - remain committed to continuing the dialogue and coming to an understanding with the Divestment Coalition in a timely manner. 

I must emphasize the need for a timely resolution. I acknowledge and appreciate the many ways the Divestment Coalition organizers have lived up to their values of nonviolence and inclusion. At the same time, the conflict at the heart of this discussion attracts forces that do not share the same values and are putting our community at risk.

We saw this yesterday when the Chicago Police Department increased their presence to prevent the escalation to violence. It was evident that the protest had become a magnet for others outside our community with nefarious intent.  

Through the Engagement Team, I have requested a meeting with the Divestment Coalition student leaders tomorrow. 

It is my sincere hope that the action and dialogue spurred by recent protests on our campus and beyond continue. 


Robert L. Manuel