Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

U of R unites against racism

A new joint statement issued by faculty, administration, and trustees says in part, “We will listen and learn from each other and work to hear and amplify the voices of those who have been marginalized, and we will use every opportunity to create lasting change in alignment with these objectives.” (Photo by Aaron Okayama)
Professor and Coach Suzette Soboti, chair of the Faculty Assembly, and Mario Martinez, Naslund Endowed Dean of the School of Education, write on behalf of faculty, administration, and trustees in a memo to the University community.

Today, we announce the release of a University of Redlands statement against racism that is supported by our faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees.  The historic support across our University community and the collaborative effort to craft the statement represents our collective acknowledgment of painful experiences of so many, but also our commitment to positive change.  

This statement is the first step of our institutional journey to more purposefully infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion across our institutional culture.  The work ahead will include meaningful action derived from a process of inclusive dialogue and planning, and accountability systems that monitor progress and ensure success.

Here is our statement:

The faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees of the University of Redlands recognize that racism is pervasive in our society and that no segment of our nation is exempt, including the University. We acknowledge that students, alumni, and employees of the University, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color, have experienced and have been hurt by marginalization, silencing, tokenism, erasure, and other damaging practices. We recognize that we have not adequately confronted inequities stemming from race and its intersection with other social identities. We unconditionally reject racism in all forms and embrace the institutional change necessary to dismantle systems that perpetuate injustice and inequity. 

Knowing that words are powerful when coupled with action, we will be open, transparent, and accountable in the institution’s anti-racist initiatives. We will listen and learn from each other and work to hear and amplify the voices of those who have been marginalized, and we will use every opportunity to create lasting change in alignment with these objectives. 

We commit to bringing together all constituents to create and implement an anti-racism action plan with specific goals and objectives. Our progress will be measured on set dates and all will be able to inspect, review, and question the outcomes. This process of centering the voices of those who are Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color is ongoing, and we intend it to be a new and permanent part of our life together. 

The faculty-led initiative to create this statement against racism was overseen by the Faculty Senate, which created an Antiracist Statement Task Force. The Task Force was comprised of faculty from the College and each of the Schools, two members of the Board of Trustees, and a member of the President’s Cabinet.

In addition to the co-chairs—Associate Professor Patrick Wing, who is History Department Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Senior Clinical Professor Conroy Reynolds, who is Chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Services, Director of Online Programs, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Coordinator in the School of Education—members of the Task Force were:

  • Adriana Alvarado, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of the Higher Education Program and Co-Director of the REAL Lab in the Department of Leadership and Higher Education, School of Education
  • Bing Bai, Professor, School of Business
  • Jon Berquist, Visiting Professor of Old Testament in the Graduate School of Theology
  • David Danielson ’75, Trustee 
  • Wendy Farley, Director of the Program in Christian Spirituality and Rice Family Professor of Spirituality, the Graduate School of Theology
  • Leland Launer Jr. ’77, Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Mario Martinez, Naslund Endowed Dean, School of Education
  • Avijit Sarkar, Professor, School of Business
  • Renée Van Vechten, Professor in the Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Science

It is with great appreciation I would like to recognize the diligent work of these individuals; they are to be commended for constructing a statement we can proudly support.

Learn more about the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives