Ambrosians Respond To Racism In Large Number


04/02/2019

Nearly 400 members of the St. Ambrose community turned out in support of a call for unity Tuesday, April 2, in the face of multiple instances of racist graffiti discovered on campus over the past week.

The Unity Walk was organized by the Black Student Union to show peaceful resolve in the face of the hateful messages. They were joined by SAU administrators, faculty and, in large number, fellow students of every ethnicity. SAU Director of Diversity Ryan Saddler '95, '06 MEd spoke forcefully and inspirationally as SAU community members gathered at the conclusion of the walk through campus. He said the strong turnout echoed St. Ambrose's rich history of social justice activism.

"It really was a beautiful sea of Ambrosians of different shades," Saddler said. "For the students to see the faces of administrators, faculty, staff and their own peers standing in solidarity, I think it did a lot for them, letting them know they are not alone in this. It did great good, much needed good for them and for their spirits."

As for the perpetrator or perpetrators, he said, "I honestly hope they were in the crowd. I hope they were listening. If not, I hope they looked out and saw the number of people who stand against what they are doing."

The SAU Security Office is actively investigating the graffiti incidents. A report on these incidents has been filed with the Davenport Police Department.

Unity Walk

"It really was a beautiful sea of Ambrosians of different shades," Saddler said. "For the students to see the faces of administrators, faculty, staff and their own peers standing in solidarity, I think it did a lot for them, letting them know they are not alone in this. It did great good, much needed good for them and for their spirits."

Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, president of St. Ambrose, spoke prior to the Unity Walk and emphatically stated that the St. Ambrose community condemns the hateful words and actions. She said the university would take appropriate action against any individuals who are proven to have committed these acts.

"Please believe me when I tell you these are not the actions of anyone we care to include in our campus community and trust me when I tell you the person or persons found responsible will not remain on this campus one minute longer than due process requires," she told the assembled Ambrosians. "Hate speech will not be tolerated at St. Ambrose University."

Sister Joan added that the university will continue to work to be certain its actions reflect its core value commitment to diversity.

"I further want to say to the courageous organizers of this peaceful Unity Walk and to all black students gathered here today, you are valued, welcomed and loved as members of our community."

The walk's organizers sent a message of thanks following the event: "The members of the Black Student Union (BSU) would like to thank all who came out to support our Unity Walk," it began. "Your presence sent a strong and loud message that hate and intolerance have no place in our community."

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