The Hypocrisy Of The Mission Statement
By Taylor Rogers, ‘24
Providence College’s Mission Statement focuses on the history, faith and reason, academic excellence, community and diversity, and veritas and providence. The college aims to focus on this academic excellence “in pursuit of the truth, growth in virtue, and service of God and neighbor,” promising to extend their “loving embrace to all” and to promote the freedom and equality of each person. Their mission statement explicitly states that Providence College promotes the “human flourishing of each member of the campus community,” hoping to uplift every single member of the Providence College family, ranging from the UG2 workers who diligently clean the school to the students that wander this campus, determined to gain a college degree in the fields in which they are passionate.
This promise is one that is not often met, as students and faculty of color have frequently reported racially motivated hate crimes and acts of discrimination committed against them. These students and faculty have often reported said crimes, only for them to be swept under the rug or ignored by Providence College. On April 26, Public Safety Lieutenant John Dunbar, the campus’ Crime Prevention and Campus Relations Officer, delivered a powerful speech citing multiple incidents during his time at the College where he has reported incidents of racial profiling only to get ignored. Lieutenant Dunbar has worked as a member of the Public Safety staff for 32 years, diligently serving the PC community with his signature smile present despite the constant, racial attacks on his person.
Lt. Dunbar has decided to speak out due to the announcement of the College’s new public safety chief, Chad Carnegie, who is also Black. Lt. Dunbar feels this chief will also suffer from the ongoing discriminatory behavior and actions committed against him by members of the Public Safety Office and students on this campus, which have increased as the lieutenant has climbed in rank in Providence’s Public Safety Office. The discrimination Lt. Dunbar has faced on this campus is horrendous, just like the consistent sweeping under the rug of said events. His own coworkers have harassed, ignored, and rejected the multiple discriminatory acts committed against Lt. Dunbar. Hearing of the Lieutenant’s stories of harassment and racial discrimination as a Black student at Providence College is heartbreaking, as the school promises to promote racial equity yet fails to do so with not just students, but the staff and prominent figures in the PC community as well.
When a student of color at PC expresses their discontent, their concerns are often dismissed in the same way Lt. Dunbar’s have been. Often, College claims they will “investigate” the incident, but never actually follow through with said investigation to give these students the justice and a feeling of safety on this campus they deserve. Students of color on the PC campus are often the 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 as white students on this campus. This past 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 worrying someone is going to commit a hate crime against them there. Faculty have also reported feelings of racial profiling, Dr. Anthony Rodriguez, an associate professor in the Elementary and Special Education Department, also cited incidents in which he has reported acts of discrimination committed against him and students, only for his claims to be ignored. This harsh discrimination and profiling should not be happening in the year 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 is meant to promote equality, inclusion, diversity, and the thriving of the community in which the College immerses itself. Students and faculty choose to study and work at PC in search of an accepting community, one that will help each individual reach their personal goals and accomplish great successes. However, students are unable to feel accepted in a community that constantly discriminates against people who look the way they do. Diversity should not be something solely reserved for a few “inclusive” photos for admissions brochures and then ignored when members of the community who fit this diversity quota are victims of hate crimes, racially profiled, and shunned from the “loving embrace” PC promises to give all students. When a member of the Friar Family is treated the way Lt. Dunbar has recently been, it is incredibly heartbreaking, and a student cannot help but wonder when the school will listen to the veritas of minority voices on campus for which the College advocates in its motto.