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University of Portland

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
5000 N Willamette Blvd
Portland, Oregon 97203
(503) 943-8000
Email address
School Information
The University of Portland was founded in September 1901 by Portland Archbishop Alexander Christie, who had purchased property atop Waud’s Bluff with financial assistance from the Congregation of Holy Cross in South Bend, Indiana. Archbishop Christie named the school “Columbia University” after the mighty river that flowed nearby, and when it opened its doors, it was staffed with priests from the archdiocese. Columbia University achieved junior college status in 1922, and in 1925 the College of Arts and Sciences was founded. Four years later the first bachelor’s degrees were awarded to a class of seven men. In the 1930s, the University’s name was changed to the University of Portland, the St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing became part of the University as the College of Nursing, and the School of Business were created. In 1948, the School of Engineering was created. The University established its Graduate School in 1950 and the School of Education in 1962. In 1967 the Congregation of Holy Cross and the University’s Board of Regents transitioned to a shared governance structure. Today, the University continues to be guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross and governed by an independent board of directors. The University of Portland is the only school in Oregon to offer a College of Arts & Sciences, a graduate school, and nationally accredited programs in the schools of business, education, engineering, and nursing. In 2013, University of Portland was named one of America's "Green Colleges"​ for the fourth consecutive year by The Princeton Review. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report named the University of Portland one of the top ten Western regional universities. The University has been named a top ten regional university for 19 years running.
General Information
In response to the death of George Floyd, in June 2020 the president of the University of Portland (UP) sent a campus-wide email. It originally appeared on the university website, but can no longer be found there. An archived link shows the following dedication made to social justice, anti-racism, and mandatory critical race training: "We will redouble our efforts to establish a major and minor in Ethnic Studies within three to five years and will resume our national search for an Ethnic Studies faculty member. We will implement training modules on issues of institutional racism and implicit bias that will be mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff. We will strengthen efforts to recruit and retain faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented groups. Such efforts will include the continued implementation of industry best practices when it comes to faculty search committees, outreach to high schools and organizations that serve prospective students from underrepresented backgrounds, and enhancements to on-campus services that promote the well-being and success of community members of color. We will further empower the President’s Advisory Commission on Inclusion to collaborate with the Office of International Education, Diversity, and Inclusion on initiatives, programming, and events that will center the voices and lived experiences of people of color, and support such efforts with increased funding. We will implement the University’s revitalized Core Curriculum beginning in 2021. This new curriculum features two “habits of heart and mind,” Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and the Common Good and Global and Historical Consciousness, that have a clear nexus to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and cross-cultural understanding. We commit to issuing additional grants for innovative course development within these habits. We will place renewed focus on scholarship programs that widen access to UP among underrepresented groups, such as the Davis Scholars, SHE-CAN, and the various scholarships established by UP community members. We will use the coming year’s ReadUP program as a platform for all students, faculty, and staff to read and discuss a literary work that addresses issues of racism. We will continue to invest in and promote existing University organizations that promote inter-cultural awareness, engagement, and empathy, such as the Collaborative for International Studies & Global Outreach (CISGO). We commit to strengthening the University’s relationships with community organizations at the vanguard of advocacy for historically marginalized populations, such as the NAACP, Urban League, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We will continue to sponsor signature events that present our community with the chance to engage deeply in issues of racism, inclusion, and cultural humility, such as MLK Day ON, Faculty Development Day, and Staff Development Day. (source: Notably, the immediate past university president invited Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to speak on campus in 2013. The current president, who took over in 2014, marks a significant change of direction for UP.

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • "Admissions committees also must include trained faculty observers and members with diverse and/or underrepresented backgrounds or experiences."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • All staff and students are highly encouraged to participate in the Unconscious Bias Program.
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • The Core Curriculum has four goals, Goal IV is to require all students to view Western culture through a lens of critical theory and critical race theory.
Faculty/Staff Requirements
  • As of March 5, 2021, there will be a requirement that "all admissions staff and committee members undergo unconscious bias and anti-racism training."
Political Actions and Support for Anti-Racism
  • The DEI department resource list includes a link to support Don't Shoot PDX.
Program and Research Funding
  • Equity interns will receive a $3,200 stipend for the OHSU Equity Research Program .
  • OSHU will be giving out twenty awards of $10,000 each for projects that "promote diversity goals and anti-racist behavior."
  • The new administration has re-imagined the Moreau Center for Service and Justice: "Our direct service programs are grounded in the following commitments: Social Justice: Catholic social teaching emphasizes the dignity of all human life, preferential option for the poor, and consideration of the common good. Educational and reflection opportunities embedded in our programs allow for participants to come to a deeper understanding of self, as well as the political, social, economic, and religious issues connected to their volunteer experiences. Participants gain a sense of how their unique interests, talents, and skills can affect social change and consider their responsibility to take action."
  • The Moreau Center runs several immersion learning programs for UP students. One example: "The Spring Engagement Experience (SEE) Portland was an opportunity to learn stories of racial (in)justice and community strength and resistance in the Black, Indigenous and other communities of North Portland. Participants learned how we connect to these shared stories and explored how we move forward together as a community. Over 100 University of Portland students, faculty and staff participated in some part of the program that included two Zoom learning and discussion events bookending three weeks of participation in walking and biking tours, podcasts, documentaries, interviews, a UP student play, and events curated by our Moreau Center staff. Participants could pick and choose the learning opportunities they were most interested in and that worked best for their schedules and locations, as we had people join from within Portland and around the country."
  • Work study students can get paid to work for local social justice organizations.
  • The DEI department published a document on how to "change systems of oppression" that includes a glossary with items like: "Race: Race is a socially constructed classification of human beings, 'created by Europeans (whites) which assigns human worth and social status using ‘white’ as the model of humanity and the height of human achievement for the purpose of establishing and maintaining privilege and power' (Keith Lawrence and Terry Keleher, Structural Racism). "
  • "As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the University of Portland offers educational programming for students, faculty, and staff to increase knowledge and understanding of issues pertaining to race, class, culture, ability, ethnicity, gender, age, and other aspects of identity. Our workshops are designed to confront racism, foster inclusion, enhance campus climate, and increase equity. Since each member of the community is responsible for creating a welcoming and equitable environment, these workshops are designed to empower individuals to support this work."
  • Student diversity collaborators help plan programs and events to create a welcoming campus environment and community network for students at UP. Diversity collaborators plan annual events in order to further enrich the appreciation of diversity at University of Portland.
  • The library has a website dedicated to "anti-oppression" and "anti-racism" readings.
Symbolic Actions
  • Community Conversations: Staff and faculty are invited to come together across departments and discuss anti-racist texts in small groups. Our hope with these groups is to empower the community to learn about systemic racism in an intentional manner, and through respectful conversation with colleagues over time gain skills to disrupt racism in themselves and in their spheres of influence.
  • In April 2021, UP hosted a webinar with Ibrahim X. Kendi, author of How To Be An Anti-Racist.
  • The university's "Anti-Racism Action Plan" includes efforts to "build an anti-racist institution" and create both the Social Justice Taskforce and a Diversity Advisory Council.
Last updated July 26th, 2022
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