We, the faculty in the Department of Communication and Digital Media at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, together, and in full support of its contents, release the following statement in response to post-election acts of violence against minority groups, including on our campus:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the appointment of racists, bigots, misogynists, and anti-Semites to the highest levels of national government. We call on faculty, staff, students, and administrators at Saint Joseph’s University to resist the normalization of white supremacy. We cannot pretend that we are seeing politics as usual. We cannot ignore and appease fear-mongering and extremist views that threaten the human dignity of members of our communities.
The Department of Communication and Digital Media was founded at the intersections of civic engagement and digital media, and we believe communication is central to social change. The way we talk about current events affects how we act upon them. Thus, we are devoted to creating a culture of change-making by building partnerships with individuals and groups beyond the confines of the university. Each faculty member plays a committed role to its success by providing students with opportunities to link to others in order for each to develop a sense of place in the broader world.
We admire and support campus groups such as Black Student Union, SJUPride, Bridging the Gap, The Alliance, the Latino Student Association, and other student organizations and individuals dedicated to helping us all understand each other better. Students in these organizations know that foul acts of bigotry have dramatically increased recently but unfortunately are not new. We call on everyone on campus –administrators, faculty, staff, and students — to stand with these courageous members of our community.
In making this call, we recognize that humans are instinctively tribal, not inclusive. Our wiring pushes us to seek out those most like ourselves, particularly in times of distress. Inclusion, on the other hand, must be learned, practiced and continuously nurtured. Being an ally is difficult work. However, we are committed — now more than ever — to providing opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to practice solidarity in our classrooms, in our building, on campus, and in local communities.
Join us in asking:
How can those who teach and learn in higher education extend beyond traditional curricular boundaries to become agents of social change, not just in theory, but in practice?
Moving forward, intentional acts of solidarity will be vital. Small gestures, like signing a petition or wearing a button, often lead to larger demonstrations, like stepping off the curb and joining a protest or calling out bigoted acts when and where you see them. Our Jesuit values require radical acts of solidarity. We encourage all students and faculty to take concrete steps to protect non-majority groups, and we dedicate ourselves to being leaders in those efforts on campus and in the communities in which we work and live.