Follow up to the December 7th BSU Town Hall

Dear Town Hall Attendees:

Thank you for your attendance at the December 7th BSU Zoom Attack Town Hall, for encouraging others to attend, and for posing a range of questions for our Administrative leaders. The 60 questions posed have been addressed here for your review. Please note that these responses are more than just a set of questions and answers. To a great extent, this document is historical as it covers work done in the past, work that is ongoing currently, and work that remains to be done (with established and measurable goals) into the near future. As a University, our academic mission never sits still; it is embodied and emboldened by opportunities and challenges. 

As is shared throughout the Q&A, Gonzaga must and will do better in three areas of critical importance dear to me before and since I became the Provost: affordability, accountability, and accessibility. I want to share three examples of the progress we have made towards these areas:

  • Our scholarship fund, spearheaded by the President, University Advancement, benefactors, and donors, exceeded its goals in the last capital campaign giving us opportunities to financially support students who otherwise could not afford a Gonzaga education. 
  • Our movement toward greater accountability is underway as we work with one another across divisions and boundaries to hold one another accountable, to hold Gonzaga accountable, and to be accountable to others in our daily work, in our values and in our commitments. The Enrollment Management division, which includes Graduate and Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, and the Student Affairs division are setting goals that will better support and address the very real concerns of BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color) students.
  • Finally, regarding accessibility, we have much more work to accomplish. While our student body is reaching 28% in diversity and underrepresented students, our faculty and staff numbers have lagged. Each senior leader of the University is responsible for increasing the number of people of color among faculty and staff. Several hundred faculty signed a petition supporting this work after the November Zoom bombing and are ready to create the conditions needed for improving diversity. Senior leaders have taken this charge seriously and are working, whether at the level of the Cabinet, the Council of Deans, or the Provost’s Council, to ensure better and more diverse hiring. Individual schools and the College, Human Resources, and various councils have committed to better hiring practices knowledgeable that it takes effort to create equitable faculty and staff hiring policies and procedures and to secure more URM (underrepresented minority) faculty. This, too, will be accomplished particularly when we hold one another accountable for the work and partner with key offices such as the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Please consider this message one of several updates; I am proud of the collaborations we have established in listening to and acting upon the concerns shared prior to and following the BSU attack. This institution, with your support and our ongoing collaborative work, can and will accomplish important things. Let us start by sustaining and improving our student demographics and create parity in faculty and staff hiring to match those numbers. 

We all deserve to see measurable change as we continue to strive for academic excellence; when we do so, our graduating students will have received an excellent education and be better prepared to enter a world that is diverse, capable of solving challenges. As the submitted questions and those of other attendees suggest, our campus community is expecting changes and I believe Gonzaga is ready to meet such expectations collaboratively guided by the spirit of St. Ignatius in being people for and with others.

Deena J. González, Ph.D.,
Provost and Senior Vice President