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Loyola Marymount University Makes Juneteenth A Paid Holiday In First Step To Address Systemic, Institutional Racism

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Loyola Marymount University says they have a new plan to address systemic racism at the school and its own institutional complicity in perpetuating white supremacy.

Over the last few weeks of civil unrest, the university has hosted a listening forum with Black students and faculty, and meetings with Black student leadership. President Timothy Law Snyder said he also participated in a Black Lives Matter demonstration organized by LMU students. Those efforts have informed a series of commitments the university is making to address systemic racism and oppression.

The university says this Friday, Juneteenth, will be a paid university holiday, and Snyder is asking the LMU community to observe it as a day of reflection and action. Snyder suggested students and faculty attend a Black Lives Matter protest, volunteer for a social justice organization, donate to bail funds, call elected officials that they demand to support an end to police violence, register to vote, or further their knowledge on the lasting impacts of slavery.

The immediate actions the private Catholic university says it will take is to make two Black therapists available to address student concerns, increase resources for partnerships that will equip students for action and advocacy in the Black community, change the art and images in University Hall to ensure LMU reflects more inclusive and diverse representations of history and community, and in the fall, begin a three-year President's Leadership Initiative to educate the community on systemic oppression and what an anti-racist education and climate entails.

The university's longer-term plan included a promise to increase the diversity and inclusiveness of the LMU community and commit resources to do so.

"We will hold ourselves to a higher standard of accountability, using an equity scorecard to document progress in recruiting and retaining Black students, faculty, staff, and executive leadership. We will make the same commitment for members of other underrepresented populations," Snyder said in his letter to the LMU community. He added that the university will also accelerate efforts to increase the racial diversity of governing boards and university leadership.

The university says it will also put its infrastructure, policies and process under a microscope, encourage faculty toward a more inclusive, decolonized curriculum and throw more resources toward increasing integrated curricular and co-curricular collaborations and partnerships.

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