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St. John’s University

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
8000 Utopia Pkwy
Jamaica, New York 11439
(718) 990-2000
Email address
School Information
"As a university, we commit ourselves to academic excellence and the pursuit of wisdom, which flows from free inquiry, religious values, and human experience. We strive to preserve and enhance an atmosphere in which scholarly research, imaginative methodology, global awareness, and an enthusiastic quest for truth serve as the basis of a vital teaching-learning process and the development of lifelong learning. Our core curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences aims to enrich lives as well as professions and serves to unify the undergraduate experience." St. John's University is a private Roman Catholic university in New York City. The university enrolls over 21,300 students, has a 17:1 student to faculty ratio, and more than 50 institutes. (Source: (Source: (Source:
General Information
Caving to immense student pressure, St. John's university is taking disciplinary action against a professor. The university opened an investigation of a professor who asked class to weigh the pros and cons of slavery. The university also hosted a Racial Justice Series with the aim of getting input from community members on further actions to be taken. The university has formed an "Institute for Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. See developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • The School of Education will, "Develop and implement a plan to consistently examine admission policies to ensure the process is fair and equitable to ensure historically marginalized groups have access and opportunity."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • The university libraries "will provide three inclusion and anti-racism workshops for library employees during 2021-22 academic year."
  • St. John's Athletics' Council on Community, Culture and Social Justice (CCCSJ) will implement a, "Year-long educational programming for student-athletes, coaches, administrators and staff."
  • The Collins College of Professional Studies will, "Promote an antiracism agenda through education and awareness training and action at the individual, Division, and College levels."
  • St. Johns hosted a "Show Up & Listen: Anti-Racism Work for Non-Black Admins" training exclusively for White admin. The university justified such training by saying: "Time has long since passed when being non-racist was acceptable. After 400+ years of racial oppression, it's time to unpack our privileges and ask ourselves—how am I actively anti-racist? This question is even more important as educators of young minds. How do I create equity at my institution? How do I demonstrate myself, my department, and my institution as allies of social justice and the Black community? Now's the time to evolve our allyship beyond hashtags."
  • On April 21, 2021, St. John's hosted a teach-in titled "The History, Legacy, and Impact of Anti-Asian Violence", and on February 25, 2021, the university hosted a teach-in titled "Antiracism: An Interfaith Response to Oppression".
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force will, "Examine curricula, including course content, syllabi, and resources, and implement a plan to educate students on issues of social justice and implications within their respective fields of study."
  • The School of Education will, "Identify resources and develop protocols to support faculty to ensure syllabi, assessments, and other materials are antiracist" and "Examine curriculum (e.g., course content, syllabi, and resources) and implement a plan to educate students on issues of social justice and implications within their respective fields of study."
  • The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences' Committee on Equity and Inclusion will, "collaborate with the College’s Curriculum, Co-curricular, and Inter-professional Committees and departmental GERC committees to develop pertinent programming regarding antiracism, equity, inclusion and belonging."
  • St. Johns University's Division of Library and Information Science developed an Advanced Certificate in Social Justice in the Information Sciences.
Disciplinary Measures
  • University opened an investigation of a professor at the request of student activist demands. Professor asked class to weigh the pros and cons of slavery.
Faculty/Staff Requirements
  • The Tobin College of Business Equity and Inclusion Task force announced, "All Departments have been asked to identify a designated DEI Advocate on each of their P&B committees/search committees to complete DEI training."
  • The university called on "the leadership of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and Faculty Association (FA) to represent their faculty in affirming their commitment to creating an antiracist community and commit to partnering with us in implementing needed changes, including those that will allow for more historically underrepresented faculty to be involved in faculty hiring and promotion processes, requiring faculty professional development focused on anti-oppressive pedagogies and practices, and assistance in holding accountable faculty members who engage in acts of bias."
  • The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force will be, "Incorporating antiracism professional development in the RED evaluation process for all staff and administrators in St. John’s College."
  • The School of Education will, "Develop and implement a plan to educate faculty and staff on race, power, and privilege." The school also announced, "Short workshops held during Faculty Council meetings to help us better understand racist and antiracist policies, practices, and ideologies, including how to discuss openly and privately about the 'ideal student.'"
  • St. John's is incorporating antiracism professional development in the RED evaluation process for all staff and administrators in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Program and Research Funding
  • The university has an "Institute for Critical Race and Ethnic Studies," which is "research institute whose principal method of operation is the innovative interweaving of theory and action for thedevelopment and engagement of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to addressing the problems caused by systemic racism and the intersecting forms of oppression that accompany it locally, regionally, nationally, and globally." The goal of the institute's "fellowship and internship program is the participation of SJU’s CRES Institute in the development of scholarship and community work in the area of Critical Race & Ethnic Studies at a national and international level." The institute also has a "Visiting Scholars Program & Speaker Series." The institute also offers "regular annual forums that welcome people from internal and external communities. Participation in a full set of forums together with completion of some CRES courses will allow participants to earn a certificate."
  • University hosted a "Racial Justice Series" to "normalize conversations about racial equity; to encourage people to explore concepts and issues of racial justice more deeply within their own lives; and to equip people with resources and tools to help them become better informed about racism and antiracism."
  • St. John's University unveiled its "Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES)" minor in its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "The minor aims to explore how social justice issues are shaped by race, ethnicity, class, dis/ability, gender, sexuality and other contemporary and historical forms of group-differentiation, according to the program description."
  • The University Libraries created an Anti-Racism Task Force
  • The university libraries conducted an, "Inclusive Practices Scan. The University Libraries will assess inclusive practices at St. John’s University as they relate to Collections, Inclusive Culture, Instruction, Online Access, Services."
  • The university libraries will, "Develop a Collection Development Philosophy, which will inform the creation of a Collection Management Policy with an emphasis on inclusion. As a follow-up to the eBook collection assessment project conducted during the 2020-21 academic year."
  • The Tobin College of Business has an Equity and Inclusion Task Force.
  • St. John's Athletics' Council on Community, Culture and Social Justice (CCCSJ) hosted Solidarity Week where "St. John's student-athletes, coaches, administrators and members of the University community will help officially activate the Accept No Hate movement through social media campaigns, virtual activities and by hosting an Athletics Town Hall for discussion on a variety of related topics."
  • The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force will, "Participate in activities, including trainings, workshops, and communities of practice, to understand implicit bias, microaggression, race, power, and privilege that will help advance racial equity."
  • The School of Education will, "Implement an antiracist standing committee with a diverse group of students, faculty, and staff who will review and evaluate school-wide plans."
  • The Hon. Edward D. Re Faculty Workshop Series in the School of Law featured "scholarship related to race, racism, and anti-racism across a host of domains. The presenters will focus on racial justice and racial empowerment issues." The Fall 2020 issue of the St. John's Law magazine presented "The Anti-Racism Essay Project."
  • The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences' Committee on Equity and Inclusion will "recommend and develop non-academic programs for CPHS faculty, staff and administrators, regarding antiracism and other issues of equity, inclusion and belonging."
  • The Collins College of Professional Studies will, "Encourage faculty, administrator, staff, and student leader participation in antiracism and social justice themed workshops, trainings, restorative dialogues, and symposia" and "Encourage faculty to integrate racial and social justice concepts into their courses through utilization of lectures, class discussions, guest speakers, and assignments that support a culture of antiracism."
  • St. Johns University piloted a rubric to review the St. John’s College Academic Fairness Procedure. The rubric was based on the racial equity tools from the Center for Urban Education, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California, and changes have been proposed to make the policy more "equitable and accessible" to students.
  • As part of professional development for staff and administrators, St. John's offers programming such as participation in the Discussion on Social Justice series, as well as external conferences and workshops for academic leaders like the Equity NOW! Webinar series.
  • In collaboration with the Dean of Libraries, the Libraries Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism Committee (LIDEA) will establish "goals, objectives and an action plan" that support the University Libraries’ commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution in its collections, services, policies, and spaces. The committee "honors the broad definition of diversity which includes race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age and disabled persons with the aim of treating all with kindness, respect and dignity."
  • St. John's Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion organizes scholarly and pedagogical activities that advance the university's commitment to an inclusive and equitable community. The Center assists with Research and Publication, Literacy and Pedagogy, Institutional Accountability and Recognition, and Collaborative Learning.
  • St. John's has an Equity and Inclusion Council that "recommends institutional policy and practice changes needed to create an equitable and inclusive learning, teaching, and working environment." It is the result of a merger of the Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion and the President’s Multicultural Advisory Committee.
  • St. John's has an Office of Multicultural Affairs.
  • The Office of International Education has a diversity and inclusion section "geared towards giving students the support and guidance they need to embrace themselves as individuals both at home and abroad."
Symbolic Actions
  • The Office of Human Resources has an Antiracism Committee, with subcommittees in Education and Development, Policy and Procedure, and HR Climate.
  • In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Communication Studies, Department of English, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, and Institute for Core Studies have antiracism statements.
  • After the murder of George Floyd, President Gempesaw released a statement expressing solidarity with victims of injustice. He said the university must "commit to doing the work necessary for St. John’s to become an antiracist institution," and that "it is not enough to be 'not racist.' [St. John's] must develop actions, policies and practices that oppose racism, and work to dismantle those which empower racism to persist at St. John’s."
  • The university's Office of Human Resources has an antiracism statement in which it states that it "strives to model antiracism practices and provide education and training that seeks to end current practices and policies of systemic racism embedded within our University". It also states that its goal is to "apply an antiracist and equity lens in all current and future initiatives".
Last updated November 23rd, 2023
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