Jenkins calls for change to fight racial inequalities
Observer Staff Report | Monday, June 8, 2020
University President Fr. John Jenkins committed to “combat the blight of racism” following the murder of George Floyd, in an email sent to the Notre Dame community Monday.
While Floyd’s killing has led to widespread protests across the nation and the world, Jenkins said he, along with University vice presidents and deans, will work together to establish changes on campus in order “to live up more fully to the ideals of Notre Dame.”
Jenkins extended his apologies to the racial hardships Black members of the Notre Dame community face.
“Each of us must be aware of that pain among members of our community and be ready to offer support and listen as appropriate,” he said.
Jenkins cited the University’s principles on diversity and inclusion, reinforcing Notre Dame’s commitment “to the dignity of every person, to building a community in which all can flourish and to solidarity with all, particularly with the most vulnerable.”
As such, Jenkins said these principles drive the University to take an active role in fighting against racism and exclusion.
“If we are committed only to certain life issues, that commitment is at best shallow and at worst hypocritical,” Jenkins said.
Acknowledging the University’s shortcomings in the struggle for racial equality, Jenkins urged the community to be honest about the realities of being a Black student, faculty or staff member and attempt to improve.
“Our black students and colleagues often feel less included in the Notre Dame community many of us cherish, and sometimes feel the sting of remarks and actions that make them feel demeaned or excluded,” Jenkins said. “We must be honest about our failings, and commit to do better.”
Jenkins said he will be discussing with upper-level University administration steps to in response to “this moment that is both tragic and a call for conversion and recommitment.”
“As we all return to campus, we must continue this conversation, as together we seek ways to live up more fully to the ideals of Notre Dame and to combat the evil of racism in our society,” he said.