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University of St. Thomas

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55105
(651) 962-6150
Email address
School Information
"Our founding was inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, a 2,000-year-old practice of uniting faith and reason to explore the world. As a Catholic university, we develop future leaders of all faiths looking to make a positive impact on the world. And, we are the only academic institution in Minnesota to be designated a 'Changemaker Campus,' meaning social innovation, entrepreneurship and caring for the common good are built into everything we do. Our three campuses in St. Paul, downtown Minneapolis, and Rome, Italy, offer unique learning and living opportunities" (Source: St. Thomas has over 10,000 students enrolled with a student to faculty ratio of 13 to 1. There are over 150 undergraduate majors and minors and 55 graduate degrees offered among the 3 campuses.
General Information
St. Thomas has a legacy of promoting anti-racism in pedagogic methods. The school started the Racial Justice Initiative in 2020. The leader of this initiative has also led many dialogues outside of this initiative to promote the same goals. Dialogue has also surrounded 'white identity' in the workplace and in education. No mandatory Critical Race Training sessions are yet required of students. However, see developments below:

Actions Taken

Political Actions and Support for Anti-Racism
  • The Racial Justice Initiative plans to engage the community in considering "potential partnerships surrounding housing, education, social justice, health care and more."
Program and Research Funding
  • In June 2020, Dr. Yohuru Williams started the Racial Justice Initiative which "will work collaboratively with individuals and organizations already engaged in the essential work of helping to reimagine a future for the Twin Cities free from racial disparities." The focus of this initiative is centered on "supporting racial justice education, facilitating research, exploring community partnerships, and encouraging dialogue and critical conversations" primarily in adult education, and the results will be shared in communities.
  • The Racial Justice Initiative plans to incorporate "research projects and service-learning experiences" for students regarding the history of systemic racism and modern anti-racist efforts.
  • The Racial Justice Initiative also plans to "support and sponsor opportunities for faculty to grow their work" regarding "critical concepts surrounding racial justice."
  • St. Thomas has created a Racial Justice Scholarship. St. Thomas plans on giving scholarships to minority students and to "students whose studies focus on racial and social justice."
  • St. Thomas started a conference titled 'Equity in Action: Cultivating Antiracist Universities.' Its first keynote speaker was Ibram X. Kendi, author of "How to Be An Antiracist." The inaugural conference discussed, among other things, the recent events surrounding Derek Chauvin, George Floyd, and Ma'Khia Bryant as well as how "to strive toward being an antiracist society."
Re-Imagining Policing
  • The university is taking steps to reshape policing as they have "a faculty working group" that will "discuss issues around police reform." In addition, they have the St. Thomas Community justice Project which discusses police brutality and seeks to "evaluate potential solutions to policies, practices and conditions that facilitate or perpetuate police brutality against Black Americans."
  • Under one of the goals in the Racial Justice Initiative, St. Thomas will lead a speaker series inviting experts on the subject. St. Thomas will "begin to educate the greater community about African American history as a foundational step to learning, making change and eradicating barriers."
Symbolic Actions
  • The leader of the Racial Justice Initiative, Dr. Yohuru Williams, has been given the title of Distinguished University Chair, with many publications and media appearances. Regarding the initiative he leads, he stated, "With the moment in front of us now, there is a tremendous opportunity to see the Twin Cities as a laboratory for change. Here in Minnesota, if we can think creatively, engage broadly, and partner with humility concerning the work we must all do together, we can make a big impact."
  • In July 2020 Jesse Langer, the Assistant Dean of Students, began monthly meetings of members from the Division of Student Affairs. This session is denoted "Discussing White Identity" and is meant to discuss "what it means to be white" and focuses on "understanding systemic racism" as well as "identifying implicit bias.
  • Dr. Yohuru Williams leads a podcast called Civics 101, discussing racial issues.
  • St. Thomas interviewed Rama Hart in discussing inclusion and equity in the workplace with a goal "to teach inclusion and equity successfully."
Last updated April 7th, 2023
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