To Father Michael Garanzini, Chancellor,
CC: John P. Pelissero, President; and fellow Alumni and Donors of Loyola University Chicago,
I am writing in earnest and proud support of the student protestors and members of the Student Government of Loyola Chicago, and I urge any administrative action against them and their cause be one that promotes their Jesuit education and not one that hinders it.
It was some time ago when we first met after my election as Student Body President of our university. I had a lengthy agenda, and you graciously sat with me for longer than our scheduled time. By the end of my term, we were able to start a first-of-its-kind, student-run bike sharing program, a student-led greening and recycling program, and we earned the Board of Trustees’ support to build a new student center (since completed and aptly named after Father Damen).
We accomplished so much together not because we agreed on the strategy or tactics, but because we agreed on our cause. We want Loyola University Chicago to be the top-tier Jesuit institution.
Threatening academic sanctions and probations for protest and assembly is contrary in form, function, and principle of this goal and diametrically opposes the spirit of the university’s mission: to expand knowledge in the service of humanity through learning, justice, and faith.
There is no greater expression of service to humanity than that of standing in solidarity with one who is different than yourself.
There is no greater method of learning than through the act of earning experience.
There is no greater form of justice than securing equality and equity where imbalance and disparity are found.
The spirit of any punishment rendered upon these students should be as much inline with the university’s mission as their actions have been.
The greatest lesson I learned at LUC is that of cura personalis: to care for the whole person.
I strive to live up to the principles of Jesuit teaching. I believe that when I care for others holistically, I too will be cared for holistically. That is just what I believe.
I also believe it was this same inclination that guided the sanctioned students’ actions.
They were accomplishing the last pillar of the university’s mission: they were practicing faith.
Such actions should not be discouraged, but should be celebrated.
Judging by their actions, it was the mission of the university that brought these students to its doors.
It is our duty to keep those doors open.
Student Body President 2008-09