University Releases Statement Against Racism

This article has been updated following History Chair Patrick Wing’s responses to the Bulldog’s questions.

On Nov. 13, the University of Redlands released a statement against racism backed by the Board of Trustees, administration, and faculty. In it, the administration acknowledged that it has “not adequately confronted inequities stemming from race and its intersection with other social identities.”

The letter was sent to the university community by email from Chair of the Faculty Assembly Professor Suzette Soboti and Dean of the School of Education Mario Martinez.

The letter, speaking from the point of view of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees, begins by “recogniz[ing] that racism is pervasive in our society and that no segment … is exempt, including the University.”

It continues that Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) face “marginalization, silence, tokenism, erasure” and other harm.

The university announced in this letter a plan for future anti-racism initiatives, which will be explored with transparency in the campus community. “We will listen … and work to hear and amplify the voices of those who have been marginalized,” it read.

The email described the initiative to create this statement as “faculty-led.” The Faculty Senate created the Antiracism Statement Task Force, which included some professors, a few Board of Trustees members, and a member of the president’s cabinet.

The co-chairs of the task force were History Chair and Professor Patrick Wing and Chair of Counseling and Human Services Conroy Reynolds.

The statement comes after many activist groups, composed of students, alumni and faculty, have raised awareness of racial injustices in the university community and country. In particular, the Black Student Union and U of R Alumni For Black Lives Matter have raised awareness of BIPOC issues through a variety of ways, including online petitions, virtual events, and social media posts.

According to Professor Wing, the idea of issuing a statement came from the University Academic Assembly “by a number of faculty members from several different departments.”

After the Faculty Senate approved the idea, it created the task force including both trustees and members of the president’s cabinet. Wing described the process of developing the statement as “collaborative,” reflecting a mutual desire of all parties.

On the intentions for future anti-racism initiatives, Wing commented:

“Faculty members are currently serving on several working groups under the umbrella of the University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, led by Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christopher Jones.”

The Antiracism Statement Task Force included the following people:

  • 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
  • Rev. 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