Dear Cabrini community,
As global citizens and participants in humanity—and as members of Cabrini University—we have a responsibility to identify inequity and create meaningful, lasting change in our communities.
“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” said Pope Francis. Our institution was founded on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, on a fundamental tenet of advocating for the rights and dignity for all persons, and in the spirit of Mother Cabrini’s actions, not just her words and ideals.
While we have progressed on our path to Living with Purpose, I recognize that Cabrini needs to do more. We hear your voices and understand your frustrations that, too often, a disconnect exists between institutional ideals and the real experiences of Cabrini’s Black community—students and faculty alike.
Cabrini needs to do better. We need to acknowledge where we’ve fallen short and determine an actionable way forward. These conversations are uncomfortable and overdue, but we must continue them and take the steps needed to create a truly inclusive campus culture and community. The institution will continue this work, because it is the only path forward to true change.
Cabrini remains committed to upholding Mother Cabrini’s legacy of social advocacy and is looking in earnest at our programming, curriculum, relationships, and interactions—the entire Cabrini experience—to create positive change. To do better.
Early in the spring semester, we made Implicit Bias and Microaggression Awareness training—acknowledging unconscious biases and providing guidance for responding to microaggressions—mandatory for all employees. Toward a greater institutional understanding of these biases, we are working to coordinate additional trainings, panels, and lectures, and making such exercises in continued self-reflection mandatory and ongoing for all employees.
On Thursday, June 11, the Diversity Office hosted a CommUNITY Town Hall, offering a safe space for Cabrini’s AHLANA (African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, and Native American) students to share their perspectives. In addition, the Barbara and John Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education hosted the first of a three-part webinar series, Racism-Induced Trauma: Naming it and Framing It, for Cabrini students, faculty, and staff. Friday night, Campus Ministry hosted a virtual forum for storytelling, prayer, listening and Q&A.
We are also developing student programming, with insight provided by the Black Student Union, to provide challenging and thought-provoking forums and opportunities to listen and learn and positive outlets for taking action.
I encourage all faculty, staff, and students to listen in, reflect on, and participate in these vital discussions, now and into the future. These conversations are vital to creating a better understanding of these issues, as well as a path forward to positive change.
To better address on-campus issues, we are making the anonymous reporting via EthicsPoint more accessible and easier to navigate. By the start of fall 2020, EthicsPoint will be accessible from the Cabrini Portal, in addition to on the institutional website, and clarified language and instructions will more clearly identify how to submit incidents of racial bias and discrimination for investigation.
We will continue to share more information about these ongoing efforts, including training opportunities, webinars, and panels, in the coming weeks. We look forward to working with the entire Cabrini community to celebrate diversity and to ensure the entire Cabrini experience is inclusive and supportive, now and always. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas or to find out how you can get involved with these ongoing efforts.
Without an understanding and compassion for each individual’s experience, we cannot achieve peace and equity in our shared experience. As an institution, we are working diligently to listen, to contemplate, to learn, and to take action to move forward and create a progressive and inclusive community. We recognize that this long-overdue change starts with us—at home, on campus—and I look forward to working with all of you, across the institution, to truly embody Mother Cabrini’s legacy and our mission.
In the Cabrinian spirit,
Donald B. Taylor, PhD