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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Father Linnane Announces New Task Force for Racial Justice Training


On Wednesday, March 16, Loyola’s president Father Linnane announced that he has appointed a group of campus leaders to develop a plan to implement racial justice training for the entire Loyola community by the fall of 2016. The Presidential Task Force for Racial Justice Training will advise the president on the best practices that would fit the needs of the faculty, staff, administrators and students. In building this Task Force, Father Linnane’s goals are clear, “Through training, and through the many current and future opportunities I know will be offered on campus for further conversation on racial justice, I am confident we will emerge as a more welcoming, more inclusive community.”

Racial justice training was a main focus for executive vice president Susan M. Donovan, Ph.D., when she spoke to campus leaders in November on the importance of changing our current campus climate after meeting with students who had experienced discrimination and bias incidents.

“I have had hundreds of discussions over my time here, but this was one of the frankest discussions I have ever had with students — and I am so grateful to them for speaking with honesty and courage,” Donovan explained via email to the Loyola community after the meeting. “As I listened to the students, I realized that we as a community are not living up to the values that we profess.”

The task force members include members from across Loyola’s community:

  • Heather Z. Lyons, Ph.D., professor of psychology, chair
  • Eric Baker, ’18, undergraduate student majoring in theology
  • Seán Bray, director of Campus Ministry
  • Timothy Brown, S.J., associate professor of law and social responsibility and assistant to the president for mission integration
  • Sylvia C. Doud, graduate student pursuing an M.Ed. in school counseling
  • Alicia Espinal-Mesa, ’18, undergraduate student majoring in political science
  • Ernest Hankerson, maintenance and motor pool assistant driver for the department of parking and transportation
  • Adanna Johnson-Evans, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology
  • Hong-yu Li, administrative assistant for ALANA Services
  • Maryalice Meister, director of generalist services in the office of human resources
  • Cheryl Moore-Thomas, Ph.D., associate professor of education in the school counseling program
  • Timothy O’Brien, S.J., visiting assistant professor of theology
  • Rodney Parker, director of ALANA Services
  • Christina Spearman, Ed.D., director of the office of student life


Although the task force just started working together this semester, they are well on their way to researching best practices in the field of racial justice training. Dr. Heather Lyons, the chair of the program, explained that there are some colleges and universities that have already begun to inspire Loyola. “Fordham has been ground breaking in this area. Their training is large scale and the support for that work includes all segments of campus, including leadership,” she explained. Fordham’s Undoing Racism Collective is an organization of students, faculty, administrators and staff that formed in the wake of Ferguson in 2014, and has been a leader in this particular area ever since.

Lyons cites Loyola’s students for their active and effective messaging, which was able to start this conversation on-campus, and looks forward to continuing the work they have started. “Training alone cannot bring us to our goal of creating a racially just campus,” Lyons stated. “However, training is a logical first step. When we know better we will do better.”

If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved in these discussions on-campus, you can visit


Photo courtesy of Loyola News

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Father Linnane Announces New Task Force for Racial Justice Training