On November 13th, Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) held a monthly meeting to discuss the 2018 SJU Climate Study. The meeting was led by Co-Director of Campus Relations, Kelsey Welsh. 

This meeting came a week after the campus-wide forum to discuss the racial bias incidents that have been occurring on campus. The forum definitely continued a conversation that the campus needs to be involved with. The Climate Study meeting hosted by WLI in collaboration with many other Center for Inclusion and Diversity groups was another way to continue this conversation. The event was co-sponsored by African Caribbean Student Association, Bridging the Gap, Black Student Union, Latino Student Association, and University Student Senate

The Climate Study was conducted in 2018 and is not widely spoken about or known to the student body, especially underclassmen who were not enrolled when the survey portion of the study took place. Many students at the meeting were unaware of what a “climate study” even is. Turns out, it does not have to do with climate change but actually the social atmosphere on campus. This includes sexual, racial, LGBTQ, and other issues that impact campus communities. Kelsey guided us through some of the highlights of the study in her presentation.

Given the closeness to the University Forum and the overwhelming visibility of race-based issues, the statistics on racial incidents prompted a student-led conversation. Kelsey prompted this with her mention of a powerful quote from a participant in the Climate Study: “The worst part about SJU is that it [racism] is embedded in people’s casual conversations and so many just assume it to be okay.” Many of those attending the meeting then discussed how we, as a campus community, can work towards a more inclusive and better community.

It was so powerful to hear many SJU students give their opinions on how to combat these issues. The idea of getting involved permeated the conversation and is a clear path to work towards a better SJU. This includes going to forums, discussions of bias incidents, being an ally to those in need, holding yourself and others accountable, and most importantly having an open and ready-to-learn mindset. We look forward to continuing the conversation and contributing to a better SJU.


As part of the interview process for the new Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, there will be an open forum with a short presentation by the candidate followed by questions. 

Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 – Forum Theatre – (3:30 – 4:15 PM)

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 – Forum Theatre – (1:30 – 2:15 PM)

Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 – Forum Theatre – (12:15 – 1 PM)

About the Author:

Kyra Kopacz, Political Science Major, History Minor, Class of 2022
I am the Protégé of the Communications Team for WLI. My job involves writing blogs and assisting in the coordination of social media platforms during our monthly meetings and events.