The hypocrisy of the mission statement
By Taylor Rogers, ’24
Providence College’s mission statement emphasizes history, faith and reason, academic excellence, community and diversity, and truth and providence. The college aims to focus on this academic excellence “in the pursuit of truth, growth in virtue, and service to God and neighbor”, promising to extend their “loving embrace to all” and to promote freedom and the equality of each person. Their mission statement explicitly states that Providence College promotes “the human flourishing of every member of the campus community,” in hopes of uplifting every member of the Providence College family, ranging from UG2 workers who diligently cleanse the school to students who roam this campus, determined to earn a college degree in the fields they are passionate about.
This promise is not often kept, as students and faculty of color have frequently reported racially motivated hate crimes and acts of discrimination against them. These students and faculty often reported these crimes, only to have them swept under the rug or ignored by Providence College. On April 26, Public Safety Lt. John Dunbar, the Campus Crime Prevention and Campus Relations Officer, delivered a powerful speech citing several incidents during his time at the College where he reported incidents of racial profiling to be ignored. Lt. Dunbar worked as a public safety personnel for 32 years, diligently serving the PC community with his signature smile despite constant racial attacks on his person.
Lt. Dunbar decided to speak out due to the announcement of the College’s new Public Safety Chief, Chad Carnegie, which is also black. Lt. Dunbar believes that this leader will also suffer from the continued discriminatory behavior and actions committed against him by members of the Public Safety Bureau and students on this campus, which have increased as the Lt. has risen in rank in the office. of Providence Public Safety. The discrimination Lt. Dunbar faced on this campus is horrendous, as is the constant sweeping under the rug of these events. His own colleagues harassed, ignored and dismissed the multiple acts of discrimination committed against Lt. Dunbar. Hearing the Lieutenant’s stories of racial harassment and discrimination as a black student at Providence College is heartbreaking, as the school promises to promote racial equity but does so not just with students, but also with staff and PC community personalities. .
When a student of color at PC expresses his displeasure, his concerns are often dismissed in the same way as those of Lt. Dunbar. Often, the College claims that it will “investigate” the incident, but will never pursue this investigation to give these students the justice and a sense of safety on this campus that they deserve. Students of color on the PC campus are often victims of various hate crimes due to something they cannot control, ostracized, and then classified as “different” despite having the same qualifications and rights to attend Providence College than white students on that campus. Last November, students wrote racial slurs on people’s cars in a student parking lot, a place where a student should be able to park their car without fear of someone committing a hate crime against them. Teachers have also reported feelings of racial profiling, Dr. Anthony Rodriguez, associate professor in the Department of Elementary and Special Education, also cited incidents in which he reported acts of discrimination against him and students, only for his claims to be ignored. This harsh discrimination and profiling should not is happening in 2022, especially at an institution that claims to have a strong diversity and inclusion policy that is explicitly stated in its mission statement.
As a Catholic institution, PC aims to promote equality, inclusion, diversity and the flourishing of the community in which the College immerses itself. Students and faculty choose to study and work at PC in search of a welcoming community, a community that will help each individual achieve personal goals and achieve great success. However, students are unable to feel accepted in a community that constantly discriminates against people who look like them. Diversity shouldn’t be something only reserved for a few “inclusive” photos for admissions brochures and then ignored when community members who fit that diversity quota are victims of hate crimes, racial profiling and shunned of the “loving embrace” PC promises to give it all students. When a member of the Friar family is treated the way Lt. Dunbar was recently, it’s incredibly heartbreaking, and a student can’t help but wonder when the school will listen to the truth of minority voices on the campuses for which the College advocates in its motto.