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Seton Hall: Support BIPOC Community Through Clear Language And Action

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Dear President Nyre,

On the evening of May 30, 2020, Seton Hall Media Relations published a “Statement Regarding Unrest Across Nation.” This statement, found here, was posted to Seton Hall’s official social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As proud alumni of Seton Hall, we are disappointed to see that the University’s statement lacked true substance and self-awareness. Seton Hall is a prominent Catholic higher education institution, with not only a global alumni base, but a substantial presence in its local community. Our university has a responsibility to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the anti-racist work that is so sorely needed at this time. While the statement commendably reaffirms Seton Hall’s faith-based commitment to diversity and inclusion, it does not recognize the communities most targeted and at-risk by name or publicly identify tangible steps to ensure that diversity and inclusion are not only re-evaluated - but prioritized - through the University’s practices and policies.

Anyone who takes the ten minute walk across campus from Bethany Hall to the Aquinas dormitories knows that Seton Hall has a beautifully diverse student body. As alumni, we have come to define our experience and find pride in being a part of a community consisting of students representing a number of races, ethnicities, gender identities, religions, and abilities. It is not enough to pray for justice, peace, safety, and comfort for those who are being impacted by this. The Catholic faith calls us to connect our faith with works. It is both easy and passive to denounce racism, but it takes courage and action to dismantle the systems that cause systemic racism to persist both within the University and beyond its gates in surrounding communities and across the nation. We, as individuals and as a University, have a duty to protect and advocate for Black students, alumni, staff, and faculty.

With this in mind, the University has an obligation to declare, unequivocally, that Black Lives Matter, in solidarity with its students, faculty, staff, and alumni identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). To shy away from making this statement is to be complicit with the systems of oppression that uphold institutionalized racism. As a university that frequently promotes its diversity, now is the time for Seton Hall to establish inclusive practices that truly make BIPOC feel not only at peace on our campus, but secure in the knowledge that our community supports them at all times and in all places.

We call on Seton Hall leadership to meet this moment by supporting Seton Hall’s BIPOC community and the broader movement for social justice through clear language and action. To that end, Seton Hall must:

  1. Take down the current “Statement Regarding Unrest Across Nation” and replace it with substantiated commitments and actions that align to equity and justice in all procedural and policy-based work
  2. Acknowledge the injustices the Black community is facing by publicly declaring that Black Lives Matter.
  3. Publicly commit to actions the school will take to ensure the equity, safety, and justice of all BIPOC students, faculty, and staff.
  4. Create and share evaluation systems to regularly audit the progress and success of said actions.

Pirates are taught from the first day of orientation to become servant leaders who will make a difference in the world. Seton Hall’s alumni stand ready to serve their University in working to meet these challenges and achieve these goals. Now more than ever, Seton Hall University must hazard zet forward.


Seton Hall Alumni

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