Our Mission; Our Unity

Message from the President
April 5, 2016

Dear LMU Community:

Tonight marks the second report from BIRT, our Bias Incident Response Team, concerning two recent occurrences on our campus. Each of these require us to examine deeper our actions and our purpose as a Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount institution dedicated to the service of faith and the promotion of justice and, as part of that, an unwavering pursuit of truth. Last night, a temporary wall, constructed by students standing in solidarity with immigrants, was vandalized. Earlier this semester, BIRT reported on an incident that occurred during an intramural soccer game. Both incidents are under investigation, and I join BIRT in observing and assuring that Student Affairs and Public Safety administrators are collaborating to ensure that the university’s values of diversity and inclusion continue to be observed during these active investigations.

As these processes move forward, I ask each member of our community to be aware that bias-motivated actions profoundly hurt us all. They have no place in our campus community. Pick any pair of members of our community: each must share responsibility for the wellbeing of the other.

As Americans, we live in a time when emotions are running high, and have been for many months, evidenced by our political climate and national dialogue associated with it. This moment brings LMU an opportunity to soar: to demonstrate to others how civil society and civil discourse can thrive—and can improve the human condition. Bias-based lashing out at others; expressing hatred of racial, ethnic, political, professional, economic, or religious groups or affiliations; or in any way judging or rejecting the dignity of others demeans and damages each of us, individually, institutionally, and socially. LMU’s commitment to open dialogue and discourse demands more of us. We must reassert our guiding principle of cura personalis and model more responsible and effective ways to relate to each other.

When these incidents occur in our community, they shock us because they are so out of character for LMU; we therefore must confront them swiftly and decisively because they do not represent who we are and who we profess to be. Ignatius of Loyola promoted a spiritual practice of continually reflecting on one’s actions and how those actions relate to one’s purpose in life. Our sense of the magis requires us to ask more of ourselves, and in concert with our university mission, to do more to address and fight injustice in all of its forms. During times that test our values and beliefs, I am heartened by the steadfast spirit that our community members personify on a daily basis as we actify these principles.

At 9 p.m. this evening, our students are organizing a solidarity vigil titled “Remembering, Recognizing, and Valuing the Dignity of all Migrants,” which will process from Sacred Heart Chapel to Lawton Plaza. I am proud of our students’ continuing efforts as they embody what I have stated previously: the service of faith and promotion of justice are more than just words at LMU—these operative symbioses guide our hearts, our minds, and our souls.

With sincere appreciation and thanks,

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.