The first Bishop of Brooklyn, Reverend John Loughlin invited the Vincentian Fathers to establish an institution of higher education. Since 1870, the year of our official founding, St. John’s has impacted the world through our curriculum focused on knowledge acquisition and moral development. Just as the University responded to a specific need, we must embrace our responsibility now as a Vincentian institution to take action in ways we have never done so before.
To be successful in fulfilling our purpose, the Office of the Provost will lead and support all efforts to eliminate racism wherever it exists within our institution. We recognize that racism can by systemic, intentional and unconscious to us individually and collectively. We therefore commit to fully engaging in examining our institution’s ideology, curriculum, policies and practices.
We will intentionally include a diversity of perspectives in our discussions to ensure racism is identified and dismantled wherever it exists. Our work will be grounded in our University’s mission which in part states, “We embrace the Judeo-Christian ideals of respect for the rights and dignity of every person….”
While we recognize our efforts will evolve, our antiracist action plan is outlined below. This plan will serve as our guide as we seek to ensure a respectful and inclusive environment for all. We invite every member of the St. John’s community to join in meeting the needs ahead. We recognize individual contributions will lead to our institution’s success in becoming an antiracist institution and the long-term change we seek to achieve in our society as a whole.
Recognizing the importance of fully understanding the need and ways in which St. John’s University can become an antiracist institution, a planning group/sub-committee from the Office of the Provost consisting of Drs. Kaplan, McKenzie and Grogan volunteered to lead and coordinate our discussions. It is the expectation that through our ongoing dialogue in the Office of the Provost, greater understanding and sensitivity among staff members will be achieved. As a result, it is also an expectation that all decisions, policies, practices and communications, will be viewed through a lens seeking to achieve equity at St. John’s for all.
The immediate goals of our efforts are:
Upon the signing of the Senior Leadership Statement on becoming an antiracist institution (June 6, 2020), and in adherence to what the Statement included, we immediately added a standing agenda item to our staff meetings. As the first two conversations highlighted below were enlightening, thought provoking and highly engaging, we decided to hold separate meetings moving forward solely focused on our antiracism efforts. We believe this strategy is warranted and will ensure the proper time and space is devoted to our ongoing efforts.
Since July, we have conducted department workshops about:
Our anticipated action plan for the 2020-2021 academic year includes the following topics:
The Office of the Provost will also provide the support necessary to ensure that our schools, colleges, and administrative departments develop, implement, and benchmark antiracism action plans. In addition to reading the progress memos submitted by deans and department heads to the Office of the Provost, you can learn more about each academic and administrative unit's progress on their websites.