Dear Members of the Saint Mary's Community,
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
As we enter a week of activities to commemorate, celebrate and reflect on the Lasallian traditions of the Christian Brothers and of Saint Mary's College, I ask each of you to spend some time thinking about the values which are embodied in these traditions. Each of us at Saint Mary's College is challenged to live these values and build a supportive and collaborative community based on them. As a community, we have been challenged during this present semester to think about being an inclusive community whose members strive to respect each other as unique human beings. We have been challenged to think about how we can be a community whose members honor the talents and speak and act in a respectful manner.
Creating and sustaining an inclusive community and showing respect for all persons are at the heart of our Lasallian vocation. We must recognize that we do not always and on all occasions meet the lofty aspirations described in our mission. Difficult conversations regarding diversity have put many members of our community under stress. Some members of our community have resented our attention to diversity and inclusion, and have responded by acting in ways that are disrespectful and hurtful to the very people who already feel marginalized.
In recent days I've received reports of students and faculty members who have felt embattled and have decided to withdraw from the dialogue. We need to recognize that the more vulnerable among us, whether due to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, or any other category are more likely to feel these pressures. I ask that we all reach out to those who seem most vulnerable in the days and weeks ahead, taking De La Salle as our model.
When acts of intolerance occur, such as conduct that unfairly targets vulnerable groups, we need to take prompt and effective steps to address them. Our policies regarding harassment, discrimination and professional conduct are clear; the College expects all individuals to act in a civil, ethical, truthful, professional and responsible way at all times. If you are subject to or witness an act of intolerance, please contact Vice Provost Jane Camarillo (if you are a student), the Public Safety Office or your immediate supervisor.
We need to listen carefully and respectfully to members of our community who have felt disrespected or marginalized. We need to learn from their stories and insights. We need to receive their words as gifts of understanding and expressions of God's holy presence. De La Salle's message to the first Brothers is one which should inspire all in our community: "Show much kindness and love to your students. The more tenderness you show them, the more they will see God in you."
I am heartened by the energy and effort that many members of our community have committed in the past month to the dialogue and planning needed to ensure that our community is fully characterized by inclusive excellence.
Progress is being achieved daily, and yet there is much to do. I am committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that we achieve our shared and mission based objectives.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever!
In Saint La Salle,
Brother President Ronald Gallagher, FSC