Dear Fairfield Community,
The deplorable decision to remove the Black Lives Matter sign from the Health Center building needs to be addressed from the perspective of the historic mission and identity of Fairfield University. As a Jesuit and Catholic institution, Fairfield is committed to remediating the sad history of the Catholic Church’s record of many centuries of racism. It does not matter what this or that student, faculty member or senior administrator might think, the identity of Fairfield is not up for debate. While the Church has often failed in this regard, the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching, building upon the wisdom of Hebrew and Christian scriptures, insists not only on the absolute equality in dignity of all human beings, but also on the special concern for the marginalized members of society that goes by the name of commitment to the common good. At this moment in history in America, the proclamation that Black Lives Matter is central to showing our institutional commitment to becoming an anti-racist community. God knows we have some distance to go, but the trumped-up excuses for removing the BLM sign set us back in the noble cause of the dignity and equality of all people. It is also a major public relations disaster. The only people who take offense at the idea that Black lives matter are, obviously, those who think that Black lives don’t matter. And those people, whoever they are, have no place on our campus. Equal dignity, unlike political or lifestyle choices, is simply not up for discussion. I hope that our university president will make this clear by saying publicly that Black Lives Matter. And the sooner the better.
Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Professor of Catholic
Studies and the Director of the University’s
Center for Catholic Studies