By Neil Homstad
At this year’s Mass of the Holy Spirit on Friday, Sept. 9, Principal Frank Kozakowski announced that social science teacher and varsity basketball coach Jamal Adams ‘90 will lead and assist in the the creation of the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
The Office of Equity and Inclusion is an initiative that strives to create educational opportunities, ensure social justice and allow students and faculty to engage with each other through service projects on campus.
Kozakowski said that there are many reasons that he chose Coach Adams to lead this new initiative.
“Coach Adams is a long time Loyola employee who knows the school culture and history of this institution. He has interest in the area of committing to to doing justice. He has a willingness to learn and is open to grow, and he brings a life experience to the table that I don’t have. Coach Adams is someone I can work with,” Kozakowski said.
Adams believes it is unique from other offices such as counseling, community, and service because it incorporates aspects of all three offices into one large resource for the community.
“Every student, faculty member and any other member of our community should feel that who they are as an individual person is valued and encouraged and that they can go around feeling like an included part of our community,” Adams said.
On Monday, Oct. 10, immediately following the First-Year Retreat, Loyola students and staff members will be surveyed to gauge their concerns about recent global tensions, such as international terrorist attacks or police shootings in Charlotte, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example. Students of all grade levels will also asked about their questions regarding race, economics, and other social issues following each tragedy.
Kozakowski said, “I think that conducting this survey in October will tell us a little about where we are and where we can go.”
The underlying purpose of this organization is to make sure that there are no disparities in the treatment of the student and faculty bodies. It aims to identify social injustices in the immediate community and around the world, especially concerning race relations and economic statuses, and to ensure that every student and staff member feels valued and safe within the school.
Although the office is still in the planning stages, Kozakowski asserted that the main function of the Office of Equity and Inclusion is to assist teachers in guiding discussions with their students regarding feelings of value within the community. Much of this dialogue will be influenced by current events and social tensions throughout the country in order to provide the most pragmatic conversations.
Ultimately, Kozakowski asserts that the recent global tragedies should be met with a communal effort among Loyola student and faculty to provide resources for a person to voice his or her feelings.
Additionally, the Office of Equity and Inclusion hopes the coalition will not only serve as a safe haven for dialogue but also an intellectual avenue for Loyola staff. Kozakowski said, “Being adult educators, the adult community needs to be informed of these things of which we can inform the students.”