Loyola Marymount Announces Plans to Eradicate Systemic Racism on Campus

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Loyola Marymount University announced tonight it will work to eradicate systemic racism at the school and address “the histories and systems of injustice perpetrated against people of color, while also taking responsibility for our institutional complicity in the perpetuation of white supremacy.''

In a letter to the school community, LMU President Timothy Law Snyder said he was reminded during a June 6 Black Lives Matter march he participated in “that the police violence and systemic racism that infects our society by killing Black people is a system in which I, as a white person of privilege, am complicit.''

Snyder said at follow-up meeting with Black student leaders Thursday he learned he needs to do more to support Black students to increase inclusivity and equity.

“We are committed to a process of institutional transformation that addresses systemic racism and oppression,'' Snyder said.

Snyder vowed to address systemic oppression and anti-Black racism in a comprehensive manner that demonstrates that Black lives matter and expects university leadership will ensure the following commitments:

-- We will increase the diversity and inclusiveness of our LMU community and commit resources to doing so;

-- We will hold ourselves to a higher standard of accountability, using an equity scorecard to document progress in recruiting and retaining Black students, faculty, staff and executive leadership;

-- We will make the same commitment for members of other underrepresented populations;

-- We will add hiring for mission and inclusive excellence training for search committees and entire units for executive leadership and key staff positions, and we will accelerate efforts to increase the racial diversity of our governing boards and university leadership;

-- We will assure that our organizational climate and culture are anti-racist, equitable and inclusive, with particular attention to anti-Black racism;

-- All units at LMU will analyze their infrastructure, policies and processes and will report their findings and steps for change to the LMU community;

-- We will increase our capacity to address and eliminate systemic racism and oppression and to build a more inclusive, equitable community through education and training. Units will be accountable to report commitments, action steps, and progress to the community;

-- An LMU education must be unequivocally inclusive and anti-racist;

-- We will encourage the faculty to move toward a more inclusive, decolonized curriculum that addresses systemic racism and oppression;

-- We will mobilize resources to increase integrated curricular and co-curricular collaborations and partnerships for greater understanding and awareness of how systemic oppression is manifested across different sectors, issues, intersectional identities, and communities.

Snyder also announced two Black therapists are now available to address the concerns of Black students and a three-year initiative to educate the community on systemic oppression and what an anti-racist education and climate entails.

The plan builds on the school's 2016 Implicit Bias Initiative and a forum will be held this fall to launch the new initiative.

Vice President of Intercultural Affairs Jennifer Abe will work with Black faculty, staff, student and alumni groups to keep leadership accountable for the projected outcomes of these commitments and the new initiative, Snyder said.

“We will change the art and images in University Hall as part of a broader effort to ensure that LMU reflects more inclusive and diverse representations of our shared history and community, under the guidance of the Committee on Public Art and Images,'' Snyder said.

The ACT/SAT requirement for applicants is being waved through the 2022-23 academic year, he said.

Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery which occurs Friday, will be a paid holiday, Snyder said.

“As is so with all of American society and culture, our pathway to justice, and its clear goals, will require renewed and reformed reflection, conversation, commitment, and action,'' Snyder said. “Let us champion dignity. Let us champion justice. Let's get to work.''

Photo: Getty Images

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