What is United by Diversity?
A multiyear focus with the goal of being more deliberate in deepening our conversations to cultivate greater respect, understanding, and celebration of our differences across our community.
The goal of the United by Diversity initiative includes many of the Characteristics of Jesuit Education. These characteristics include, but are not limited to:
- Lifelong openness to growth
- Instruction that is centered on education for justice, intellectual formation that develops abilities in students to reason reflectively, logically, and critically.
- Creating “men and women for others” by providing students with intellectual, moral, and spiritual formation that will enable them to make a commitment to service and agents of change.
- A particular concern for the poor
- Develop courses in cross-cultural communication and cultural competency. These courses focus on helping students look through the “lens” of another person when it comes to different social identities as contained in the School’s Equality of Action Statement of Purpose--race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, belief, age, economic status, or disability.
- Develop programming that provides learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom for students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni. Possible programs include speakers and “lunch and learns”.
- Assist with the effort to recruit faculty, staff and students of diverse and varied backgrounds.
- Provide professional development to faculty and staff around cross-cultural communication and cultural competency.
- Work with student organizations that have diversity, justice and inclusion as part of their mission and work. The student organization, Diversity Union, empowers students to educate and challenge themselves on issues regarding inclusion, opportunity and justice.
- United by Diversity promotes self-reflection and critical thinking, place-based and experiential learning and collaborative teaching and learning that meets students where they are. When persuading someone to your way of thinking, St. Ignatius encourages us to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.”
Walk-In Wednesdays & Safe Spaces
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the Office of Multicultural and Inclusion Initiatives located within the Counseling Office on Wednesdays during periods 4-6.
Safe Spaces is a place in which students are able to discuss inclusion and discrimination issues based on race, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, belief, age, economic status and ability.
Appointments can be made for other days of the week with Tom Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book of the Month Recommendation
Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), tells the story of the effects of wrongful convictions and the redeeming power of mercy. EJI is dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongfully condemned and those who have been victims of our criminal justice system. Stevenson has argued cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that have eliminated mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles. Just Mercy tells the story of Walter McMillian who was sentenced to die for a murder he did not commit. Stevenson’s latest initiative at EJI is to create a memorial to the over 4,300 people who were murdered by lynching throughout our country.
Film of the Month Recommendation
This Betsy West and Julie Cohen documentary follows the life of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While recognized for her years on the Supreme Court, the film tells the story of Justice Ginsberg’s life as a devoted mother, grandmother, wife and an advocate for women as a lawyer prior to her Supreme Court years. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ginsburg 's struggle as a woman in a male-dominated profession and her exceptional life and career.
Book and film recommendations will resume in September when school is back in session. Have a safe and pleasant summer!
The first Campus Conversation of the new semester took place on January 23. Diversity Union leaders, Eddie Black, Steve Murphy and Jerry Perret, facilitated a discussion on how socio-economic class divides us. Students pointed out how where you live defines how you live. Many of those who attended shared their own personal experiences. Students agreed that change is possible if they continue to bring awareness of topics related to class, wealth and poverty in our communities.
Leaders of Diversity Union held its monthly Campus Conversation on the topic of free speech, hate speech and hate groups. The discussion focused on what constitutes “hate speech” and “free speech”. Participants emphasized the importance of education and listening to what the other person has to say. While we may disagree on an issue, students felt that an honest and respectful discussion is needed. How one is socialized plays a large part in the views and memberships one holds in their lives. Students connected the discussion to U of D Jesuit’s mission and work of love, compassion and kinship.
Students from U of D Jesuit, Loyola and Cristo Rey met this week to discuss inclusion issues at their schools. This month's meeting was hosted by students from Loyola - Hayden Caddell, Eric Cox II, Dayshawn Reed, and Kendall Wilson. KJ Wilson from Loyola led a discussion on how we all need to wear different "masks" as we go through the day at our schools, homes and communities. You might act a certain way at school and then another way with your friends when you get home. Students learned from each other the struggles in doing so and expressed how they just want to be themselves in all places. Our next meeting is December 13 at U of D Jesuit.
On October 10, students from Loyola High School, Cristo Rey High School and University of Detroit Jesuit High School gathered for lunch and discussion at Cristo Rey. Students discussed the importance of their own social identities and how those identities factor into their socialization as young adults. The group meets three times this semester and three times next semester. Every school takes a turn in hosting the lunch meeting. The goal is to equip students with the tools to help them facilitate intergroup dialogue on issues of inclusion on their respective high school campuses. U-D Jesuit was represented by juniors, Eddie Black and Steve Murphy, and senior, Jerry Perret.
The student organization, Diversity Union, held a campus conversation during periods four through six on September 27. Student leaders asked those who attended,
What do we value at U of D Jesuit?
How do we grow our culture?
What are the barriers to inclusion?
What do we need to do to break down those barriers?
The discussion was thoughtful and engaging, and the leaders of Diversity Union left with a number of ideas and thoughts about inclusion, diversity and how we can break down what separates us.
Brotherhood, companionship, diversity, faith, service and justice where mentioned as concepts we value at U of D Jesuit. Education, conversation and getting to know one another were discussed as ways to break down the barriers that separate us.
One student stated, “We need to push ourselves to get to know one another.”
Diversity Union plans to hold these campus conversations on a regular basis with the goal of making our community a more inclusive one.
The Diversity Union’s mission and work is to educate our students about the different backgrounds and viewpoints of other students as well as allowing a bridge for communication among them. Our members strive to be open-minded and respectful of each other’s opinions and beliefs. Although our opinions may differ, our goal is to know each other better and learn from our fellow students by listening to each other.
The club meets every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in room 003. Tom Costello '71 is the moderator.
There is No Place for Hate in Virginia
A Message from Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur
Eight Ways Teachers Can Fight Hate & Injustice
A MiddleWeb Blog by Rita Platt
Racism, Bigotry, & White Supremacy in Charlottesville: Ignatian Network Leaders Respond
Ignatian Solidarity Network
Facilitating Intergroup Dialogues: Bridging Differences, Catalyzing Change
Edited by Kelly E. Maxwell, Biren (Ratnesh) A. Nagda, and Monita C. Thompson
Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 2nd Ed.
Edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin
Most recently, Costello spent the past four years teaching in the School of Communication Studies and serving as a faculty-in-residence at Ohio University. He taught classes in communication among cultures, cross-cultural communication, conflict management, courtroom rhetoric and the Civil Rights Movement. Additionally, he served as the chair of the Scripps College of Communication Diversity Committee.
The majority of Costello's career was as the general counsel for Compuware Corporation for 24 years.