Dear Regis community,
The recent worldwide demonstrations against injustices toward Black people show that nothing short of real, purposeful action to stop racism and inequality is acceptable.
And that includes here at Regis. Black Lives Matter. And Black lives matter at Regis.
At our two Community Dialogue gatherings last week – and over the past several days – students, alumni, faculty, and staff of color shared the struggles they have endured at Regis and beyond.
Let me say I hear you, I see you, and I am heartbroken. There is no question that as an institution, Regis in some cases did not fulfill its mission to love, serve, and respect each other “without distinction.” And as president, I have made decisions that disheartened and hurt our students, rather than embolden them.
For all that, I am sorry. We can do better and I am committed to taking action so that we will do better. The senior leadership team at Regis has developed a list of immediate action items, including the following:
- This summer we will implement expanded, required learning opportunities for all faculty, staff, and trustees so they can better support and serve our diverse student population.
- Similar opportunities will be made available to students throughout their entire time at Regis.
- I have asked the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, and the Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence to review our search and hiring process, and develop steps to increase the diversity of our faculty and staff.
- The President’s Inclusive Excellence Council, which includes representatives from across the Regis community, is developing a strategic plan to advance inclusive excellence for all. This plan will make certain Regis continues to move forward and is held accountable.
- I am charging our academic leaders to examine Regis’ entire educational portfolio – from the courses we offer to how we teach them – and address any issues of racism and inequity. We will ensure that at every stage of their education, every Regis student is treated with dignity and respect, and has all the tools to achieve success in their chosen major and career.
- The Center for Inclusive Excellence and the Center for Ministry and Service will continue to provide safe spaces for students, alumni, faculty, and staff to gather and discuss their experiences with racism.
- We will work with the Student Government Association, the Multicultural Student Association, and other student leaders to provide greater opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and remote students to serve on decision-making bodies at Regis.
- I am committed to working with the Regis Archives to ensure the entirety of Regis’ history and our students’ experiences are documented so as to better inform our future.
- The Office of Alumni Relations and Institutional Advancement, in conjunction with the Center for Inclusive Excellence, will work to bring together our robust and influential community of alumni of color by creating an Affinity Group and increasing representation on the Alumni Council.
- We will devote this year’s Founders’ Day to a day-long community dialogue on racism, equity, and social justice.
I want to assure you all that these are just first steps and are in no way enough. We will continue to work to effectuate real, institutional change to address systemic inequities on campus and better the experience for our students, alumni, faculty, and staff of color. Please continue to speak up. If you want to talk directly to me or someone else at Regis, let us know and we will connect you.
A great source of pride for Regis and the Sisters of Saint Joseph is empowering our students to be agents of change in our society. Today, that change begins at Regis.
Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN