Salve Regina commits to action steps to help eradicate racism and build a more diverse University
On Friday, June 5, students, faculty and staff gathered for an online Vigil and Forum for Social Justice to share stories, reflections and action steps with the Salve community to combat racism and injustice during a historic time in America.
“We are witnessing these events with heavy hearts as we think of the people who have been lost, of the senseless violence and what these events have laid bare about the state of racism in our society,” said Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong, president of Salve Regina. “As individuals, many of us feel a deep frustration and pain.”
Salve Regina is a Catholic, Mercy institution that stands for particular values, stated Dr. Armstrong, and it has a special obligation to provide an environment for its students, faculty and staff that is safe and secure, where all members are valued and heard, and where its values are woven into the fabric its educational experiences — in the classroom, in co-curricular environments and in the workplace.
Thoughtful reports from the Multicultural Advisory Committee and the Racial Diversity Initiative of the Student Government Association have recommended concrete steps to move Salve Regina closer to the inclusive community that it aspires to be.
“You have my solemn commitment to continually work for change, to do everything in my power to ensure that our campus is a safe and secure place for all, and to always be available to listen to the concerns of our community as we work together to build an environment that is worthy of our mission,” said Dr. Armstrong.
With this in mind, here are some immediate next steps that the University will take at Salve Regina to ensure that we foster a community dedicated to equity and inclusion:
- The University will acknowledge and clearly define the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. A more explicit statement of these values will be developed and communicated.
- Salve Regina will implement a training process for all members of its community to participate in that will give a common vocabulary and understanding around issues related to equity and inclusion so that there be will a foundation for deeper conversations on campus. In particular, there will be an emphasis on training of those who are in high impact roles to ensure that they are best prepared to support an inclusive environment for all students.
- A Leadership Development Program will be launched for faculty and staff. In this program, the University will provide training so that they are better able to support students and staff from diverse backgrounds with an increased awareness on how to leverage the power of diversity.
- The University had planned to launch an Equity and Inclusion Summit this past spring, but it was postponed due to the pandemic. This summit will be held annually for the whole community, and it will not only provide the best thinking on how to promote equity and inclusion on campus, but it will give the University concrete best practices for improvements to its environment.
- The University is committed to working with the faculty to make sure that our values are reflected in its Core Curriculum. This was part of its Strategic Compass exercise of defining what every Salve Regina student needs to know by the time they graduate, and diversity and inclusion were prominent in those results.
- The University will institute changes in its hiring processes – including how it recruits and how it selects future members of its community to ensure that it is doing everything in its power to bring in a workforce that reflects the diverse backgrounds of the wider community.
- The University will implement a regular campus-wide climate survey for its students, faculty and staff so that it will have an ongoing measure of how effective all of the changes have been.