Embracing Diversity and Inclusion: St. John’s Commitment

St. John's University building focused on diversity, equity and inclusion

At St. John’s University, our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion isn’t just a philosophical stance—it’s the beating heart of our institution. As a Catholic and Vincentian university, we are deeply rooted in the values of compassion, justice, and solidarity with the marginalized. For over a century and a half, we have upheld these principles, striving to create an environment where every member of our community feels welcomed, respected, and empowered to thrive.

Creating Inclusive Spaces: The Office of Multicultural Affairs

Central to our mission of fostering inclusivity is the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). The OMA serves as a beacon of support, advocacy, and education, working tirelessly to cultivate a campus climate where differences are not only accepted but celebrated. Through dialogue sessions, inclusivity training workshops, and a myriad of culturally enriching programs, the OMA ensures that every student, regardless of background, feels a sense of belonging within our community.

Inclusivity Resource Centers (IRC), managed by the OMA, provide physical spaces on our Queens campus where students can find support and engage in brave conversations about diversity and inclusion. These centers host signature events and serve as hubs of empowerment, offering students opportunities to learn from and connect with one another.

Celebrating Diversity: Heritage & Events

St. John's Office of Multicultural Affairs Events

We take pride in recognizing and honoring the cultures, traditions, and experiences that comprise our community. St. John's University is proud to honor our diverse community by commemorating national heritage months, days, and cultural acknowledgements throughout the year. We value each opportunity to delve into the rich historical, cultural, and social dimensions of various identities, while amplifying voices that have often been marginalized. 

Building Bridges Through Education: Equity and Inclusion Certificate Program

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends beyond the confines of our campus. Through the Equity and Inclusion Certificate Program, we engage members of the University community in critical conversations about systemic inequities and biases. By equipping participants with a deeper understanding of social justice issues and practical strategies for promoting inclusivity, we empower them to effect meaningful change in their personal and professional spheres.

The program consists of modules that explore foundational concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as workshops focused on understanding implicit bias and microaggressions. Participants are encouraged to engage in discussions and reflection sessions, fostering a community of learning and growth.

Equipping Students for Change: Student Equity Workshops & Project AIM

Student Equity Training (SEW) through the St. John's Office of Multicultural Affairs

Through initiatives such as the Student Equity Workshops (SEW) and Project AIM mentoring program, we provide students with the tools and resources they need to effect positive change in their communities.

SEW offers a variety of educational and social justice-centered training workshops led by trained student leaders. From the Diversity Peer Education Program (DPE) to the Safe Zone Program, these workshops engage students in critical conversations about identity, privilege, and allyship.

Project AIM, our peer-mentoring program, supports first- and second-year students’ success through mentoring, student engagement, community-building, and personal development opportunities. AIM fosters a social and intellectual learning environment that occurs beyond the classroom, helping students acclimate to university life and develop leadership skills.

Becoming an Antiracist Institution: A Call to Action

In response to the urgent need to combat systemic racism, St. John’s University is committed to becoming an antiracist institution. This commitment was underscored by a statement from University senior leadership on June 6, 2020, which outlined a series of actions and initiatives aimed at dismantling racism within our community.

The University has pledged to develop actions, policies, and practices that oppose racism and to partner with the Office of Equity and Inclusion in reviewing academic and administrative policies. University leaders have committed to becoming racially literate and understanding the ways in which biases, power, and privilege function in their interactions. This commitment extends to examining white fragility and supporting mental health counseling for those processing racial trauma. 

To benchmark progress, the status of antiracism efforts will be a standing item on the agendas of all department and unit meetings, fostering ongoing dialogue and accountability. Additionally, each academic and administrative unit at St. John’s is developing antiracism plans tailored to their specific contexts, ensuring a comprehensive approach to dismantling racism within the University.

Championing LGBTQ+ Diversity: A University Imperative

The LGBTQ+ Center at St. John’s University is a pivotal hub for LGBTQIA+ issues within the university community. Dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment, the center offers educational programs, event coordination, policy advocacy, and student support services. Through initiatives like Safe Zone training, it empowers individuals to create safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ community members. Some of the center's achievements include committee formations, web integration of LGBTQ+ resources, Safe Zone program implementation, and advocacy for Gender-Affirming Housing. Through collaboration and advocacy, the LGBTQ+ Center aims to promote acceptance, respect, and support for all LGBTQIA+ individuals at St. John’s.

RESPECT: Supporting Those Affected by Bias

St. John’s University's Respond and Partner to Engage our Community Team (RESPECT) stands against prejudice and discrimination, offering support to those impacted by bias incidents. Our mission is accountability and healing through restorative justice practices. We provide guidance, support resources, and facilitate healing conversations within the community. By proactively engaging and analyzing trends, we work to prevent future occurrences. 

Looking Ahead: A Continued Commitment

As we chart the course forward, our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion remains steadfast. We recognize creating a truly inclusive community requires ongoing effort and reflection. Through continued dialogue, collaboration, and advocacy, we will work tirelessly to ensure St. John’s University remains a place where every individual—regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, or socioeconomic background—can flourish and thrive. Learn more about St. John’s University and our continuing commitment to diversity.