Dear UD Community,
I write to inform you that I am approving the proposed student club, Student Leaders for Racial Solidarity. As you know, in a previous communication to the UD community, the Bishop and Chancellor, the Board Chair, and I spoke out in support of the proposal. At that point in time, the intention was to proceed with the normal process of a Student Government vote on this matter. In the last week, however, I have heard the question posed by a number of the members of the UD community: “If the President has already made the judgment that the group is going to be approved, then why go through with a vote, which is in the end only consultative anyhow?”
As I have thought about this question, I have come to the realization that it is unnecessary and unduly burdensome to ask the students to go through with a vote. Having read with care the revised constitution for this group, having spent time with the student leaders, and having heard reports from the group faculty advisor, Dr. Matt Spring, and the informal advisor, Trustee Louis Brown, I cannot see any reason that I would not end up approving the group.
Given that, it seems to me that the prudent thing to do is to go ahead and approve the group. I realize that some will be unhappy with this decision, as it bypasses normal processes. But there are times when bypassing such processes is the most reasonable path. I have made the judgment that this is such an occasion.
Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83
Dear UD Students and Faculty:
The love of truth and justice must be more than a motto.
As leaders of the University of Dallas we, Bishop Edward Burns, Chancellor, Richard Husseini, Board of Trustees Chair, and Dr. Thomas Hibbs, President, wish to ensure that our words align with the spirit that animates our communal endeavors.
Let us be clear: racism is a sin against God, who created all in His image, and against our shared humanity. The authoritative teaching on this subject is consistent -- our understanding of the relationship between God and his creation is found in the very heart of the Gospel. It is reaffirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and finds expression in the proclamations of Saint Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis. We stand in solidarity with the teachings of our shared faith.
Students at the University of Dallas led by Joshua Nunn, Natalie Villafranca, and Prince Obegolu recently proposed the formation of a group focused on racial solidarity. The administration has worked to plan an event with these students. We are delighted to announce that our newest member of the board of trustees, Louis Brown, will speak on February 1 on the topic “Christian Identity and Witness in Time of Racial and Social Conflict.” During his visit to campus, Louis will also be spending time with groups of students for informal conversation.
Working with Louis and with their faculty advisor, Dr. Matt Spring, the group has crafted a Constitution that makes clear the connection between the University’s stated mission and the explicit purpose of this student-led organization. We are proud of the work they have done, their willingness to engage in constructive dialogue, and the way in which their proposal is explicitly linked to the religious tradition that is at the heart of our University and our diocese. Louis said of his experience:
"It has been a blessing to be appointed a trustee of UD. That blessing has been further confirmed by the gift of meeting and working with the impressive and inspiring student leaders of this prospective new student organization committed to racial solidarity. On every feast of Pentecost, our Catholic faith celebrates God’s love for each of his children of every language, race, and ethnicity and prays for more of God’s love and power through His Holy Spirit. These student leaders and the new prospective student organization seek to help UD more fully become what Christ has always asked His Church to be: a sanctuary of love, truth, and healing for people of every race, tongue, and ethnicity. I believe this student organization dedicated to reaching for the heights of God’s love through greater racial solidarity will only further UD’s mission of being a premier Catholic institution that empowers God’s love and truth for all his children."
We support the proposal for such a student organization and we welcome the opportunity to engage more fully in the spirit of justice and reconciliation to which we are called.
Most Reverend Edward J. Burns, Bishop of Dallas, Chancellor, University of Dallas
Richard Husseini, BS ’88, Board Chair, University of Dallas
Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83 President, University of Dallas