Institutional Statement on Racism
Campus leadership and the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion shared the following statement with the campus community on June 1, 2020.
Dear Elmhurst University Community Members,
As cities around the nation erupt into protest, it is with anguish that we once again bear witness to the devastation that racism causes. The violence of the past few days has been disturbing for everyone, but we must recognize first and foremost the tremendous amount of pain many of our black and brown community members have been feeling for a very long time. This pain is the result of intolerable conditions, brought to a head by the murders of men and women like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Laquan McDonald and Ahmaud Arbery, to name but a few. Their deaths may have sparked the current fire, but its kindling was laid over centuries of racism and oppression.
The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can help us understand:
“It is not enough for me to stand before you and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say that a riot is the language of the unheard.”
And so while we condemn the looting and violence that has erupted, we are simultaneously compelled to rise to the challenge of addressing its root cause rather than merely condemning its branches.
The mission of our University, our legacy in Reinhold Niebuhr’s call for social justice, and our concern for our collective future, compels us to stand as a community with those who protest the racism that plagues our society. Injustice and violence in this country continue to exist, and now more than ever the Elmhurst University community must join in solidarity to support and uplift one another as well as the voices of those who speak out against injustice.
As events continue to unfold, we challenge you to educate yourself across lines of difference. View our resources for learning about the history of racial oppression in the United States; they also include ways to process current events and reflect on our own biases. We encourage you to do your part to fulfill Elmhurst University’s mission, and to educate yourself on these topics that weigh on the very soul of our nation.
Finally, we challenge you to use your education, and the power and privilege it provides, to reject hate, racism and violence. It is the responsibility of everyone to do the vital work of building a more equitable and inclusive community.
- Troy D. VanAken, President
- Edward Momkus, Board of Trustees Chair
- L. Bernard Jakes, Board of Trustees Member
- Dean Pribbenow, Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Phil Riordan, Vice President of Student Affairs
- H. Scott Matheney, Chaplain
- President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Jasmin Robinson, Co-Chair, Diversity and Inclusion
- Joshua VanArsdall, Co-Chair, Psychology
- Chris Binder, Student
- Desiree Chen, Marketing and Communications
- Adrian Dominguez, Admission
- L. Bernard Jakes, Alumnus, Board of Trustees Member
- Colleen Munro-Leighton, Chemistry
- Joshua Nichols, Student
- Juliane Thomas, Student
- Mary Walsh, Political Science