Campus Community

Let’s Come Together for the Racial Equity Summit

April 29, 2021

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The summit is important to advancing the LIFTSU initiative.

Dear Campus Community,

As previously announced, Seattle University will hold a Racial Equity Summit on Tuesday, May 18. The summit is key to the university’s strategic directions, in particular LIFT SU: Inclusive Excellence Action Plan for Racial Equity and Antiracism, which responds to the signs of the times and sets forth concrete initiatives to address systemic racism and impact throughout the institution. Given how central this work is to our Jesuit educational mission, we strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff to participate in the summit.

As the agenda for the summit is being finalized, please note the event is intentionally scheduled to take up no more than two class periods in order to allow as many members of our community as possible to participate. Faculty are asked to support students in attending the summit and to incorporate the topic into their classes as appropriate and possible. We will share a “racial equity summit syllabus” with material that faculty across disciplines can use to engage students before and/or after the summit. We understand that some faculty may be limited by scheduled exams, labs and other course requirements and leave it to professors to decide how to best support students in participating in the summit. We also ask supervisors to ensure all staff are able to attend the summit as paid time.

We are grateful for the many partners who are helping to plan a rich and robust summit, including a group of students who are serving as an advisory committee to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Notably, Academic Assembly has offered its overwhelming support and endorsement of the Racial Equity Summit, that it be an immersive day of professional learning/engagement for our students, faculty and staff.

In preparation for the event, all are encouraged to visit the summit’s web page, which includes a number of resources to help attendees situate themselves in the context of the event. One of the suggested resources, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, is a book by New York Times best-selling author Michelle Alexander, who we are pleased to have as the keynote speaker of the summit. The keynote engagement with Alexander is scheduled currently to begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. Another useful way of preparing for the event is to attend “It Takes A Village: Critical Thinking and The Cultivation of Your True Self,” a free event featuring Dr. Cornel West tonight, co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

In this consequential time in our nation’s history, we are called to come together as a campus community, to be present to one another and to reflect on how our shared educational mission calls us to respond to injustice and systemic racism. The summit aims to provide a collective forum to affirm, ally and activate toward action to do so. We hope you are able to join us for this important engagement on May 18.


Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.

Shane P. Martin, PhD

Natasha Martin, JD
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Alvin Sturdivant, EdD
Vice President of Student Development

Michelle Clements
Vice President for Human Resources

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