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Acting President Susan Donovan Calls Upon Campus Leaders to Discuss Diversity Issues at Loyola

Acting President Susan Donovan Calls Upon Campus Leaders to Discuss Diversity Issues at Loyola

On Friday, Nov. 20, Dr. Susan Donovan, Loyola’s acting president, hosted an open-forum discussion in McManus Theatre with leaders representing organizations throughout campus. The goal of the meeting was to have a conversation around the topic of diversity on Loyola’s campus and to listen to concerns, field questions and brainstorm possible solutions to recent issues that have been brought to light in our campus community.

Once Dr. Donovan opened the floor to student leaders, several students shared their experiences at Loyola, particularly as students of color. A student who worked as an RA mentioned that he has often discussed with his residents a lack of a “community” feeling for minority students at Loyola. Several other students pointed to flaws in the Bias Reporting system on campus, in which the student often had to follow up to find out if the issue they experienced had been addressed.

Next, a number of people spoke up and discussed ways that we, as a whole community, could work to make Loyola a more inclusive environment and address the existing issues on campus.

Ideas included adding in a social/racial justice training program that all faculty and students must go through, such as Green Dot training that freshmen now attend at Fall Welcome Weekend. Other students raised an interest in discussing diversity more in the classroom, whether it be in a new class all together or worked into the current curriculum. Dr. Donovan addressed that the wheels have begun turning on this idea amongst faculty and staff, and many of the leaders stated that they think students should also be involved in this planning process as well.

In terms of programming and events, students discussed the simple idea of just putting oneself out there to try new things and be engaged with groups that you may have not joined in the past. A student noted that last year’s Wazobia performance, which is a show focused on African culture, was attended by more students outside of the Loyola community than it was by our own students, even though it was on our campus. Another member of the group noted that if you want to learn more about different groups, or about the issues of diversity on campus in general, that you can seek to know more and be involved by simply attending these types of events and reaching out.

Before closing the meeting, it was noted by a member of the crowd that although discussions like this one are a positive step, it seems that Loyola is a very reactive campus, but not so much a proactive campus. This student suggested working more on addressing the issues at hand now and working towards the future, instead of addressing these topics after a big event occurs like the protests at Mizzou.

The conversation about diversity at Loyola will continue, as Sheilah Horton, Ph.D., vice president for student development and dean of students, and the Rev. Timothy Brown, S.J., host talks within the next few weeks. More information on those conversations is available online.

At the end of Friday’s discussion, Dr. Donovan left the crowd with a powerful quote from Dorothy Day, “The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.”


Photo courtesy of Loyola University Maryland’s website

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Acting President Susan Donovan Calls Upon Campus Leaders to Discuss Diversity Issues at Loyola