Campus Community / People of SU

LIFT SU Bolsters Seattle U’s Inclusive Excellence Action Plan for Racial Justice and Anti-Racist Education

September 9, 2020

Official seal of Seattle University

Natasha Martin, JD, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion and associate professor of law, created and delivered the university’s latest action plan during the President’s Welcome, laying the framework for the university to continue advancing inclusive excellence and align antiracism to its strategic direction and purpose.

Known officially as LIFT SU: Inclusive Excellence Action Plan for Racial Equity and Antiracism 2020-2021, the plan incorporates the principles of LIFT:   

Listen and learn     Impact through intentional action    
Fail forward     Transform together 

With these principles in mind, Seattle U is committed to live and lead inclusively.

“This is about realizing a more unified Seattle University strategy and greater integration to better position Seattle U to transform the institution through a shared equity agenda,” noted Natasha Martin, JD, who leads the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), during her presentation on Sept. 3.

The plan states, “As a Jesuit Catholic university, we commit to racial justice not only in our stated values and mission, but also commit to anti-racist education as institutional practice. We proclaim that Black Lives Matter and seek to more closely align antiracism to strategic direction and purpose.

“Antiracism is central to our efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion for all who learn, live and work at Seattle University… We commit to the principles of LIFT SU and the following action plan to drive institutional change toward racial equity. We will prioritize affirmation of and allyship with our Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community at Seattle University and take strategic action to address systemic racism and impact throughout the institution.”

The following five “… action steps are a further evolution of the 2016 comprehensive blueprint—Task Force on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Final Report and Recommendations and aligns with the university’s Strategic Directions adopted by the Board of Trustees in January 2020”: 

  1. Recruitment and Retention of BIPOC Students  
  2. Bias Prevention and Campus Climate Care 
  3. Recruitment and Retention of BIPOC Faculty and Staff  
  4. Narrative Through Art and Symbols  
  5. Build Capacity and Invest in Infrastructure

In partnership and alignment with Martin, these initiatives are “designed to facilitate anti-racist education and accelerate efforts to operationalize structural change for greater racial diversity, equity and inclusion across the institution.” 

Martin mindfully notes that Seattle U will need to be specific in what it strives to achieve to effectively support these efforts.

“We also realize that we must make prudent choices as we cannot pursue every racial equity aim at this time. Thus, we are calibrating our efforts given the circumstances including the current state of higher education, impact from COVID-19 and the intense social movements across the country. There is an urgent call to action to address systemic racism. We join that call and we aim to meet the moment as best as we can.” 

Inclusive excellence has been a priority at Seattle U through the work of the Strategic Planning Council this summer. The council is a representative body of faculty, staff and students that includes more than 50 leaders across the university. 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion aims to promote inclusive excellence in the university’s teaching, research and service dimensions. ODI’s mission is to foster an institutional culture where there is no dichotomy between values of diversity and inclusion and the goals of educational quality and excellence.  

Learn more about ODI here.