President addresses Loyola following student protests


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Ava Acharya, Managing Editor for Digital

Loyola Interim University President, The Rev. Justin Daffron S.J., sent a letter to the Loyola community after students protested the dismissal of English professor Scott Heath.

On Wednesday, April 26, students conducted a protest over Heath’s firing from Loyola. Heath is the only current African-American English professor at the university and the director of the African-American studies program.

In a “Letter to Loyola,” Daffron wrote in his letter this morning that he shares many of the values being voiced by students, specifically noting support for the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the university.

“I was greatly inspired by their viewpoints, passion for Loyola, and commitment to diversity,” he said.

He added that he communicated to the students who protested that the progress Loyola needs to make related to diversity requires “partnership and collaboration among faculty, staff, and students.”

“I remain committed to advancing this work and am tremendously grateful for the leadership of Dr. Kedrick Perry and colleagues who lead our priorities outlined in Loyola’s Plan for Inclusive Excellence,” he said.

In the letter, Daffron offered clarification on how faculty retention and hiring decisions are made at Loyola.

He said that all faculty have the right to appeal termination by requesting review by the University Conciliation Committee. And although Daffron is unable to share certain details surrounding Heath’s case, he confirmed that Heath sent an appeal directly to Daffron’s office.

“My goal in any review is to ensure that the faculty members involved are treated fairly and in an unbiased manner,” Daffron wrote. “I am taking extensive steps and consulting with experts to ensure that we are acting in a manner that is true to our values and equity-minded.”

Daffron’s letter was sent out on April 28 to all students, faculty, and community members subscribed to “Letters to Loyola.”


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the title for the University Conciliation Committee from University Coalition Committee.