Following President Snyder’s response to the demands made by LMU’s Black community, the Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) anticipates working closely with Synder toward substantive change within the University.
LMU’s BFSA submitted a set of demands titled “Actions ‘Beyond Words’” in response to President Snyder’s “Beyond Words” letter sent out to the LMU community on Jun. 16, as previously reported by the Loyolan. Within the letter, the BFSA emphasized the need for "concrete actions, instead of aspirational goals" to hold LMU accountable to the values it promotes as an institution of higher education.
“As has been the case with many, if not most, predominantly white institutions in America, LMU has claimed to value diversity, equity, and inclusion,” BFSA executive board members Lisa Jackson, Stefan Bradley, Christina Eubanks-Turner and Erica Privott, told the Loyolan in a separate statement. “The BFSA demands LMU and President Snyder to fill the gap between professed values and the actual experiences of Black people on campus.”
In the preface of the “Actions ‘Beyond Words’” letter, the BFSA wrote that it would be willing to praise the LMU administration if it fulfilled the demands listed, but would also be willing to scorn the University for once again failing to commit to structural change, as it has in the past.
On Sept. 4, President Snyder and Vice President for Intercultural Affairs Jennifer Abe released a response to the BFSA’s letter and the #BlackatLMU Student Demands. The response lays out immediate actions, “intermediate actions” that will be implemented in the near future, and actions that require “further processes,” in accordance with the commitments of “inclusive hiring, climate and culture and education” outlined in the “Beyond Words” letter, as previously reported by the Loyolan.
The BFSA expressed that the president has addressed their demands "in spirit," but further negotiation is needed to ensure that their needs are actually met. The association plans on speaking with President Snyder directly to understand exactly where he and the University stand on fulfilling their demands and implementing the actions outlined in the formal response.
“BFSA took great care and thought to construct the demands in a way that would improve the University; it deserves an equal measure of care and thought in the response,” said the BFSA executive board.
In terms of working with the University on this issue and having their demands met, the Black faculty and staff seem to present a more positive outlook than #BlackatLMU students, as they voiced their disapproval at the response.
“BFSA has faith that President Snyder intends to realize his goals and meet our demands,” said the Association's board members.
The Association has also stated that it will, as always, be there to help with the endeavor of making LMU an anti-racist institution.
Urgency and the need for immediate action by the University was emphasized throughout the student and BFSA demands to prevent the "institutional inertia" that resists change.
“As employees of a higher education institution, BFSA members are quite aware of how slow things can move and how encumbering some processes are, but in watching Black people die of COVID-19, vigilantism and abusive policing, BFSA implores the president and University to take up what Rev. King characterized as the ‘fierce urgency of now,’” said the BFSA executive board.
The association believes that once timely concrete action is taken toward fulfilling the demands of the Black community, LMU will finally be able to embrace its mission of the promotion of justice.