Baseball: Letter to SLU community

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Baseball: Letter to SLU community

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Editor’s note: The following is a statement made on behalf of SLU’s baseball team by captains regarding the recent bias incident.

SLU Community,

“I will foster a community that welcomes all by recognizing the inherent dignity of each person.” –SLU Oath of Inclusion

Recently, the SLU baseball program has been connected to a bias incident.  The incident involved a racially biased exchange of group messages on a group text thread between a current and former member of the team.  The exchange occurred in May of 2015, and was recently disclosed to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.  The leaders and captains of the team would like to extend an apology to anyone offended by the biased messages.  We, too, are frustrated, and we feel that the comments do not accurately reflect the values that we hold. In light of the incident, the SLU baseball program and athletic department are working to actively address and thwart any action that threatens our inclusive community.  To ignore such an incident would be remiss and detrimental to the SLU community.

Recently, the team, coaching staff, Athletic Director Chris May and Senior Associate Athletic Director Janet Oberle sat down and discussed the incident with Dr. Jonathan Smith, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Engagement, and Dr. Mona Hicks, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students.  Dr. Smith spoke about the privilege and responsibility of representing the University.  As ambassadors of the University, the impact of our individual actions has a ripple effect.  An action represents not only the individual, but also the team and campus community.  Dr. Hicks challenged us to not only consider the impact of actions, but also the value of restorative justice.  Dr. Hicks and Dr. Smith are working directly with the baseball program to organize opportunities for dialogue on diversity, equity and inclusion. SLU athletics and the baseball program will continue to proudly represent the SLU community and restore those who have been harmed.

Each member of the SLU community takes the Oath of Inclusion.  The Oath is a living organ within our student body.  It beats constantly as a reminder to live and serve the mission of diversity, equity and inclusion.  Members of our SLU community possess diverse backgrounds and identities.  Our capacity and willingness to understand these differences enriches the culture of our University.

The Oath teaches us to recognize the inherent dignity of each person.  It does not specify a particular sect of persons to treat as dignified, but rather encourages us to identify with and appreciate each person.  The vision is to project our own experiences and acts of inclusion on others long after we leave SLU.   As members of the athletics department and of the student community at large, we will continue to work to live the values that SLU holds close.  We will strive to be men for – and with – others.

Respectfully,

Michael Bozarth, Josh Bunselmeyer, Matt Eckelman & Braxton Martinez

SLU Baseball Team Captains