BSU Incident Response

12/8/20 Update: A recording of the Dec. 7 Town Hall webinar is available now, with participant Q&A to follow.

Background

On Nov. 8, 2020, Gonzaga’s Black Student Union members met virtually on Zoom. Unknown individuals joined the meeting and proceeded to attack our students with vicious, hateful, racist comments and images. This behavior was recorded and shared on social media, and BSU students alerted Gonzaga administration requesting immediate investigation and action.

Gonzaga University is committed to a swift response to this heinous incident as well as to engaging with students on how the University can better respond to past and future incidents of racism, bias and harassment.


Student Demands & University Action

The BSU students presented 5 demands to the Administration. Below are the latest updates from the University.
The investigation by Spokane Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to research the origin of the attack in order to identify the individuals responsible.  GU’s Information Technology Services department along with Campus Security and Public Safety are supporting the investigation as requested. It is vitally important that the analysis continue unimpeded, so that all legal remedies available to us may be pursued as the responsible parties are identified. The perpetrators of the attack have not been determined at this time. (Updated 11/24/20)
 

Should a Gonzaga community member be found responsible for the behavior that violates student conduct or employee policies, the repercussions would be severe. For a student, the Resolution Center for Student Conduct & Conflict handles disciplinary outcomes which could include suspension and or expulsion from the University. For an employee, Human Resources would be involved with disciplinary actions which could include suspension and or dismissal from the University.

 
  • ITS has provided greater understanding of security features for virtual meeting experiences, including how to make meetings private, and is implementing additional measures in our own technology systems to prevent interference and intrusion.
  • On Nov. 10, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Equity (DICE) supported a Student Healing Circle – a safe space for students to process how they are feeling, centering the voices of BIPOC students impacted by the attacks.
  • An incident response team includes Raymond Reyes and Robin Kelly from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), and Kent Porterfield and Joan Iva Fawcett from Student Affairs. They are convening a larger group of cross-campus partners to address needs for improved proactive communication. Security, Alumni Relations, Marketing & Communications, and academic areas are all represented in this effort.
  • Many departments have committed their professional development programs this year to diversity, equity and inclusion (through education such as DiversityEdu).

Note: President McCulloh outlined his key commitments to the work of the Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion again in recognition of Juneteenth.

 

Gonzaga is contracting with a counselor of color specifically to support the members of Gonzaga’s BSU in processing the trauma of the Zoom hate attack. The University has also agreed to contract with a second therapist of color to address individual student counseling needs until the hiring process for a full-time therapist, based in Health & Counseling Services, can be completed. This full-time therapist will have expertise in supporting the counseling needs of students of color.

 

A Town Hall meeting addressing this incident as well as broader issues of race, diversity and inclusion on campus will take place on the evening of December 7, 2020, 5:30-7 p.m. (PST) online. Panel participants, moderator, registration information and other details will be shared soon. 

 

Investigation Updates

November 23 - ITS and Campus Security continue regular check-ins with law enforcement; to date, the perpetrators of the attack have not been determined.

November 9 - Campus Security & Public Safety confirms involvement of Spokane Police Department and FBI


Statements/Messages from Leadership


Response Timeline

Date

Action

Nov. 8, 2020 Incident Occurs; ITS and Safety/Security offices immediately involved
Nov. 8, 2020 Notification of incident and message of solidarity sent to Gonzaga community
Nov. 10, 2020

Incident Response and Communications teams are implemented for a coordinated approach to addressing concerns

Nov. 11, 2020  Update on investigation and progress toward demands 
Nov. 25, 2020  Update on investigation and plans
Dec. 7, 2020 A Town Hall webinar for the campus community took place, with more than 500 participants.

Addressing Academic Experiences 

Students and alumni alike have asked for Gonzaga to improve the diversity and inclusion components of education, both in the curriculum and in training for faculty. Here are some recent efforts:  

  • Faculty teaching across the Core have adopted social justice and global studies Core designations, many of which are focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues. New courses meeting these designation requirements are proposed nearly weekly.  
  • Critical Race & Ethnic Studies (CRES), Women & Gender Studies, and Native American Studies include DEI-related content and fulfill key University Core requirements in areas such as Social & Behavioral Science, History, and Literature.  

  • Dozens of courses included in the Core focus on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in our world today.
  • Communication Studies recently revamped the learning outcomes for the COMM 100 course (a first-year Core requirement) to focus on social justice. Faculty in that program have been campus leaders around DEI issues.
  • New DEI-focused courses have been introduced over the past three semesters: a First-year Seminar on Intergroup Dialogue, a Core Integration Seminar also on Intergroup Dialogue, and a Core Integration Seminar on Why People Hate.  

  • Core Director Molly Kretchmar-Hendricks joined the DEI Committee in the College of Arts & Sciences as a member of the curriculum and course design group. She seeks additional opportunities to intentionally integrate diversity, equity and inclusion issues within the Core. An outline for this plan is in review.  


Resources

Stop Hate, Report Bias Button

If this is an emergency or you are the victim of a crime, please contact Campus Security and Public Safety immediately at (509) 313-2222.


Recent Events

Town Hall Webinar - December 7, 2020

The event focused on students’ questions, and discussed the university’s response to the Nov. 8 hate incident and other race-related incidents, as well as ongoing work toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion. For the greatest security of students, this online event was limited to members of the Gonzaga community. A recording of this event is available now:

Comments or questions about this? We want to hear from you.

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