Letter to the University Community

from the Students of Consciousness

, Special to the Torch

At the start of March, the Students of Consciousness accomplished a milestone in our mission to achieve institutional action toward a fully diverse and empowered campus at St. John’s University: verbal commitment and a university-wide email of support from President Dr. Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw.

We commend President Gempesaw for listening and engaging with the concerns of students, alumni, and faculty of color, as well as establishing institutional commitment to the issues raised by the #SJUDemands. Several administrators, including Provost Dr. Robert Mangione and VP of Student Affairs Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson, were also present and willing to recognize the need for expansive support to achieve genuine and inclusive results for the university’s strategic priorities.

The Students of Consciousness uphold a commitment to action, while continuing to urge for accountability and transparency in the pursuit of the #SJUDemands.

Our voices are unified and pointed toward achieving meaningful success and opportunities for under-served students of color struggling with low graduation and retention rates, as well as increasing the substandard recruitment of diverse faculty, staff and administration. Our experiences are often colored with incidents of microagressions and cultural insensitivity, and we are left yearning for knowledge and curriculum rooted in social justice and critical race theory.

As one of the top universities recognized for its diversity, the Students of Consciousness challenges the St. John’s community to discern between statistical representation and a fully diverse, empowered campus. We stand together to work and collaborate on ensuring that the University is invested and proactive in achieving the #SJUDemands to enrich and strengthen our community.

We energetically look forward to the University’s action plans and expect they will be shared with all students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration in a timely manner.

In solidarity,

Students of Consciousness

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world.

And you have to do it all the time.”

– Angela Davis