#Gender Rights and Issues
Alumni of SICP
United States of America

To all alumni of St. Ignatius College Prep: please read and consider signing our group letter to urge the SICP administration to support and affirm POC and LGBT students, faculty, staff, and parents. The letter highlights the persistence of discrimination that we saw and experienced during our time at Ignatius and asks for four concrete, policy-related changes.

Dear President Caruso, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Gleason, Mr. Bergin, Principal Latko, Ms. Frett, Mr. Kriz, Mr. O’Connor, and Ms. Hooper,

Over the past week, the alumni community has been shocked and upset over news about the ongoing issue between an openly gay former faculty member and a current student who harassed him. We also are chagrined to recall the issues that students of color raised just last year.

While we would like to give the St. Ignatius administration the benefit of the doubt, for many of us, the current issue reflects what we remember as persistent, decades-long failures to address LGBT and racial rights and protections--two of the most important social justice issues of our time. This failure has hurt our LGBT and non-white students, faculty, staff and parents, who have always been a part of the St. Ignatius community. It also has fostered a hostile and aggressive atmosphere which all Ignatians, straight or gay, white or non-white, have suffered under. This is certainly evident in the conduct of the student/s in this most recent and public incident.

As alumni, we are not close enough to the day-to-day at St. Ignatius to know the particulars of each case. We are not arbiters. However, we are moved to action because these issues of racial and LGBT discrimination resonate. We remember similar issues when we were students, including racist and homophobic behavior that went unpunished, and we remain deeply disappointed. Despite the energy put into diversity initiatives, and despite the social justice values that make St. Ignatius distinctive, these basic human rights violations persist and impact, daily, the experiences of current students, faculty, staff, and parents. This internal tension also affects us, as we think about sending our own children to St. Ignatius and continue other efforts to support the school.

To ensure that St. Ignatius’s commitment to social justice and diversity is consistent, we ask for the following:

1) An unequivocal statement from the administration that explicitly supports and affirms non-white and LGBT students, faculty, staff, and parents. Pope Francis has begun to make similar affirming statements, so this kind of support would be in keeping with the contemporary direction of a more inclusive Church, and certainly with the Jesuit teachings that we all hold closely. Moreover, we wish to remain competitive with St. Ignatius’s secular and parochial peer institutions, which have demonstrated their cultural and academic relevance by creating a healthy atmosphere and designated safe space for non-white and LGBT youth. The St. Ignatius policy statement should include:

  • a commitment to fostering a culture of acceptance and tolerance of all students, faculty, staff, and parents regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or class.

  • a guarantee of equal treatment of students, faculty, and staff, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or class.

  • a fully recognized student group for LGBT students and allies to discuss issues related to LGBT rights at SICP and in the larger community moderated by an openly LGBT faculty member

  • messaging that affirms a welcoming attitude towards non-white and LGBT students and faculty to live as openly as their heterosexual and white counterparts

  • a zero-tolerance policy for any student, faculty, or staff member who intimidates, harasses, or attempts to silence their non-white and LGBT peers.

2) A transparent review process and policy for all cases related to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or class. The process and policy should be clearly stated, included in the student and faculty handbooks, and made available to the alumni community. This is very similar to best practices at the country’s top high schools and universities, which share with St. Ignatius the same high academic caliber and commitment to mission.

3) A representative review board for all cases related to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or class that would include the Diversity Coordinator. We would like you to consider also opening review board seats to a member of the alumni community and an outside mediator. As above, this would also be consistent with best practices at other rigorous academic institutions across the country.

4) An administrative and teaching staff that represents our entire community and cultural society. The current Administration does not properly reflect the diversity of the student body resulting in a lack in relation between the students and the teachers who educate them

We continue to be proud graduates of St. Ignatius and see this as an opportunity to address longstanding equal rights issues within our community. You taught us to be men and women for others, to recognize and remedy injustice where we can. We now ask you to help us remedy our own community, which is in need of the talent, energy, and strength that St. Ignatius nurtured in us all.

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The Support LGBT and Persons of Color at St. Ignatius College Prep petition to Alumni of SICP was written by Jenny Tromski and is in the category Gender Rights and Issues at GoPetition.