A Statement from the Deans of Gonzaga University

Soul Searching: Envisioning an Anti-racist Practice in Higher Education

September 4, 2020

With families and communities everywhere, we are in pain because of recent events across our nation. We join with you to name and dismantle the racial injustice that is directed at communities of color. With each act of violence, hatred, and discrimination wrought upon Black, Brown, and Indigenous people in our country, we lose a piece of our souls because we allow hatred to persist. Our society is steeped in racism. We cannot say the names of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Steven Taylor, Sean Reed, Adrian Medearis, Tony McDade, and so many others, without acknowledging this truth. These problems are systemic and so our response must be as well. Where hatred and marginalization exist for some, they exist for all, and the wounds they create cannot heal.

As a Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic university, dedicated to social justice, our moral imperative is to ask the questions and take the actions that work to dismantle systems that perpetuate and reproduce racial injustice in all of its forms.

As Deans at Gonzaga University, we call on all faculty and staff within the College and Schools to engage in the important work of understanding what racism is, how it functions, and the power it can have when it is sanctioned through inaction. We acknowledge that the history of institutions of higher education like ours is steeped in a history of colonization and white supremacy.

Demonstrating a commitment to anti-racist work must begin right here, through courageous conversations, questioning teaching methods, examining curricular content, and fashioning new policies and amending old ones. We are committed to leading our faculty and staff colleagues to transform our practices into ones that reflect dignity, unity, justice, and a spirit of genuine kinship with one another. We ask for your help and your commitment as we endeavor to walk this path together as an educational community rooted in the pursuit of justice and human dignity for all.

In solidarity with communities of color and in appreciation for all who join with us to work for a more just and humane world.

  • Kenneth Anderson, Ph.D.
    School of Business
  • Paul Bracke, Ph.D.
    Foley Library
  • Annmarie Caño, Ph.D.
    College of Ars & Sciences
  • Yolanda Gallardo, Ph.D.
    School of Education
  • Karlene Hoo, Ph.D.
    School of Engineering & Applied Science
  • Rosemarie Hunter, Ph.D., MSW
    School of Leadership Studies
  • Jacob Rooksby, Ph.D., J.D.
    School of Law
  • Vince Salyers, Ed.D., RN
    School of Health Sciences
  • Jason Houston, Ph.D.
    Gonzaga in Florence