Fostering Inclusive Excellence Amid COVID-19

Uncommon Care in Uncommon Times

Written by Office of Diversity and Inclusion
March 26, 2020

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

- Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail


Dear Colleagues,

Given this uncertain time and the circumstances that we are working hard to address, I write to extend my hand and heart to you virtually as we engage in uncommon care in uncommon times. We are all focused on delivering the most effective, high-quality, online learning environments for our students and supporting them, and one another, as we try our best to acclimate to this rapidly evolving global health pandemic. During this precarious time of physical separation and isolation, inclusivity and belonging matter. When I offered the invitation for us all to Love. Hard. Now! during fall quarter at the Mass of the Holy Spirit, I could not have imagined our current reality. Indeed, these times call for furious love!

The health of our virtual campus climate and our inclusion ecosystem, more broadly, requires special attention at this time.  Stress, anxiety, misinformation, and other pressures during moments of crisis can foster biased perspectives and dynamics that result in exclusionary behaviors. We must lean into our interdependence, focusing on the disease of COVID-19 rather than division; and embody courage over fear. Our vibrant student cohorts of numerous identities and backgrounds are now experiencing varying degrees of impact related to learning, life, work, wellness, and family circumstances. During these uncommon times, remember that our words matter, equity matters and, yes, love matters – for the care of yourself and others.

The spirit of our dialogue series – Educating for Justice in Complex Times: Prioritizing Inclusion and Humanity – rings true. We are living in complex times, pursuing education for impact and justice rooted in our Jesuit mission and values, prioritizing the humanity of every student as we work to educate the whole person during these unprecedented times. To that end, I offer some resources to support inclusive practice, as well as our collective growth and resilience. See the sampling of resources below. I will be sharing more in the weeks and months ahead. Please send along any resources that you have found useful.

Although our co-created programming is on pause at the moment, please know that I am recalibrating plans and will be thinking creatively over the next several weeks and months about how we can continue and strengthen efforts to make SU inclusively excellent for all who live, learn and work here; doing so without sacrificing our considered judgment of what is most productive for our campus community in times like these. As always, I welcome your ideas - email inclusion@seattleu.eduPlease do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance as we navigate this new terrain together.

I hold such deep gratitude for your dedication to inclusive academic excellence for the good of our students. I look forward to reconvening in partnership with all of you in this important work as soon as reasonably possible once we are better positioned to do so after the university resumes normal operations. Thank you for your patience. Take good care as your health and wholeness matter more than ever.

Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to embrace imperfection, strengthen habits of engagement (even virtually), and hold close to the promise of harnessing the power of our differences. If open, we can emerge stronger, and more united and determined to realize our future as the most progressive and innovative Jesuit university. As we balance the varying needs of our campus community, you have my commitment to approach responses and solutions with equity and inclusion at the forefront. 

Sending you well wishes for good health in mind, body and spirit, and furious love!

Sincerely in solidarity,

Natasha T. Martin, J.D.
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Resources for Fostering Inclusive Excellence Amid COVID-19

Cultural Awareness and Growth Mindset

Inclusive Learning and Engagement

Self-Care and Resiliency 

Some Selected SU Campus Resources of Support