The Saint Joseph’s College community commits itself to nurturing highly competent and deeply compassionate leaders ready to serve in a vulnerable world. We recognize that our diverse perspectives are shaped by religion, nationality, experience, culture, status, and more. In order to confront the historical persistence of discrimination and oppression based on race, gender, class, abilities, and other differences, we embrace diversity and actively promote a culture of inclusiveness and equitability as vital expressions of our Core Values, the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, and Catholic Social Teaching.

Students sit on lawn during move in weekend 2021

Fulfilling Our Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

On July 2, 2020, College President Dr. Jim Dlugos, issued a “Call to Action Against Racism.”  Below are some of the goals for the College:

  • Processes for recruiting students, faculty, and staff of color;
  • Additional scholarships and financial assistance to support students from under-represented communities;
  • Audit of our practices and culture relative to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Anti-racism workshops to community members;
  • Establishment of an Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Since Dr. Dlugos’ statement, Saint Joseph’s College has:

  • Hired Inclusion Maine to produce an external audit of our policies and practices.

  • Initiated conversations with local community organizations to better inform its practices and policies.

  • Established the Talbot Scholars to provide access, support, and success to students from historically underserved communities.

  • Coordinated with Inclusion Maine to gather data and produce an audit of the College’s practices and policies.

  • Provided annual workshops for the College community.

  • Posted a job announcement for its first Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

  • Provided training for faculty on how to incorporate justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into their curricula.

  • Established the House of Mercy Fund to provide financial assistance to current Saint Joseph’s low income students from historically underrepresented communities.

  • Established Juneteenth as a College holiday.

  • Established and interfaith prayer room.

  • Offered community reads of Kindred by Octavia Butler and Awakening to the Violence of Systemic Racism by Vince Gallaher and Sherine Green.

  • Completed comprehensive HR Audit of DEI practices

  • Revised the SJC Careers page and the job posting language to include the importance of DEI to the College

  • Increased Job Posting sites to include sites that attract a more diverse population

  • Reported Workforce Diversity Statistics to the Board of Trustees

  • Updated the 403(b) Investment Policy Statement to include the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns for consideration of funds line up

  • Provide DEI articles on the Employee Site on an ongoing basis

  • Incorporated topics that align with the social and emotional pieces in the Wellness Wheel and promote that information through the SJC wellness program

For more details and information, see the progress report here.

Continuing the Work

There is much work that remains to be done.  For example:

  • The processes for recruiting students, faculty, and staff of color still require review.  Some of them will be addressed in the audit (see “How Are We Doing?”).
  • Review and improve the ways that the College collects demographic data to better inform its practices, policies, and goals.
  • Evaluate and improve programming around cultural holidays and months such as Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Black Catholic History Month, as well as important religious feasts and holidays.

Who We Are

Group of graduates at 2021 Commencement

The mission of Saint Joseph’s College calls us to make our core values visible in our daily interactions with one another. These values include integrity which requires a concern for the common good, a commitment to a community that embraces radical hospitality and inclusive relationships, respect for each member of our community, compassion and mercy for those who are marginalized, and addressing injustices within and outside of our community.

As an institution founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Saint Joseph’s College shares in their mission to “see Jesus in the most marginalized people and take a vow of service to perform works of Mercy that alleviate suffering.” Drawing upon their long standing concern for justice and service to the poor, the Sisters of Mercy have articulated critical concerns which guide Saint Joseph’s College’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They are the earth, immigration, non-violence, racism, and women.

Catholic social teaching “is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.” The foundation of this body of teaching is that all persons are imprinted with God’s image which confers upon them “an incomparable dignity” (Centesimus Annus, #11). As such, this dignity is to be respected and protected without condition.  A culture that welcomes diverse perspectives requires an “awareness of each individual’s dignity and of the unity of all people in a common humanity, with the aim of sharing and building up together a common destiny” (Congregation for Catholic Education).

Justice*

The commitment to “respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good.” In particular, justice has as its goal solidarity with the marginalized and the dedication to examine and address oppressive social structures.  True justice is based on love which manifests itself as mercy that seeks restoration where there has been brokenness and injustice.

Equity

The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity — curricular, co-curricular, and community-based — in ways that increase awareness, knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.

Diversity

Individual and group/social differences, including knowledge; life experience; age; ethnicity; gender identity; country of origin; race; religion; sexual orientation; socio­-economic status; education; and more.

Inclusion

The creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented and marginalized populations to take advantage of equal access or equal opportunities to academic experiences, co-curricular activities, campus employment, and community-based programs, and actively challenge and respond to discrimination, harassment, and bias.

* Sources: Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1807

As an expression of our core values of community, respect, and compassion, Saint Joseph’s extends the same welcome and hospitality to members of the LGBTQ+ community as we do to everyone. All of us “are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected” (U.S. Catholic Bishops). Accordingly, members of the Saint Joseph’s LGBTQ+ community “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Catechism of the Catholic Church).

→ Read: We support our LGBTQ+ community