Clock Tower Accords

The Clock Tower Accords, adopted in October 2014 following a weeklong campus demonstration, commit us to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in our community. This commitment extends not only to our campus, but also, in the spirit of the Gospels, to our neighbors.

Student teach-ins were a regular part of the October 2014 campus demonstration.

Student teach-ins were a regular part of the October 2014 campus demonstration.

From making a college education more accessible for students from underrepresented groups to economic and community development in St. Louis city, these accords are a tangible way for us to live out our mission.

The Accords

1. Increased budget for the African-American Studies Program
  • African American Studies received an increase in its annual operating budget that allows the program to provide greater research support to faculty, classroom support to students, and additional collaborative programming support to other units (academic and nonacademic).
  • The increased budget signals the importance of such programs as African American Studies to addressing issues of race, poverty and inequity both on campus and in the larger community.
  • Beyond support of this academic unit, the Black Student Alliance received an upgrade to its office space through a move to the Busch Student Center. The former Walter Knoll Florist space is now the newly furnished home of BSA.
2. Increased financial aid resources for retention of African-American students at SLU
  • We increased the average amount of institutional gift aid provided to African-American students by 14 percent from 2014 to 2016. The average national increase during that same period was 5.8 percent.
  • We used funds from the Go Further scholarship matching program to provide extended assistance to fifth-year students on case-by-case basis.
  • We admitted 22 percent more qualified African-American first-year students in 2015-2016.
  • We have increased retention rates of African-American students from 65 percent in 2012 to 78 percent in 2015, while the six-year graduation rate went up from 50 percent in 2012 to 55 percent in 2015.
  • SLU has also been able to lower the average debt load of all students by more than $5,400 since 2013, and 22 percent of students today are Pell Grant eligible.
3. Evaluation of SLU’s current scholarship programs to better serve African-American populations
  • We expanded our Go Further scholarship matching program to support targeted diversity scholarships, including the Pioneers of Inclusion Scholarship and the St. Peter Claver Scholarship.
  • We made transfer students eligible for our Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship, and African-American students now comprise the majority of transfer applicants and recipients. We also expanded the scholarship to returning students.
  • We are currently assessing of the implications of the 2016 Fisher v. University of Texas decision regarding race-conscious admissions programs on our scholarship programs at SLU.
  • We have begun producing reports that provide up-to-date information about our racial diversity benchmarks among a variety of  populations.
4. Additional college prep workshops for students in the area’s most disadvantaged school districts
  • In 2015-16, we hosted more than 110 workshops for admissions, financial aid and college readiness, as well as other related events.
  • Admission now makes two annual visits to high schools with the highest underrepresented minority populations in eight targeted metro areas.
  • To further advance our efforts, we added a new admission counselor in our Pre-College and Access Programs Office, as well as a new assistant director for new students and outreach in Student Financial Services Office.
5. Establishment of a K-12 bridge program, including summer programs, in the Normandy and Shaw neighborhoods to help increase the numbers of college-bound students from neighborhoods in those areas
  • We developed and presented a college readiness bridge program to Roosevelt High School, located in Tower Grove East, in 2015. While the decision was made to not move forward with a comprehensive program at this time — due to resource issues — we did host an algebra-focused summer bridge program for RHS students on campus in June 2016.
  • We learned that the Normandy School District already has an active bridge program with the University of Missouri=St. Louis and the non-profit A Better Family Life. We have shared our bridge concept with both organizations.
  • To focus this effort, we have completed a needs assessment for schools and neighborhoods within a geographic zone around our campus. Our next step will be to develop a collaborative pipeline project, working with school leaders in the area. We expect to have this plan completed by May 2017.
6. Establishment of a community center
  • Since 2014, we have worked to develop new or enhance existing relationships with a variety of organizations, including the NAACP and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, as well as clergy organizations and churches in North St. Louis.
  • In summer and fall 2016, we held meetings with various partners to discuss co-locating a community center in an area with other needed support services.
  • We have engaged a project manager through December 2016 to develop a concrete plan and timeline for the community center effort.
7. Mutually agreed upon commissioned artwork
  • We are convening a workgroup to select a pose and quote for a life-sized sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. in our Center for Global Citizenship to commemorate the civil rights leader’s speech at SLU on Oct. 12, 1964. We expect that the concept will be selected by January 2017.
  • We are convening workgroup to establish an annual juried art process for placement of art in communities beyond SLU, and expect to announce a juried competition by March 2017.
8. Development of an academic center for community and economic development to be integrated with the community center
 
  • In 2015, we conducted meetings, interviews and planning/brainstorming sessions with a broad range of SLU faculty to discuss the relationship between an academic center and a community center.
  • In summer and fall 2016, we held meetings with various partners to discuss co-locating a community center in an area with other needed support services.
  • We have engaged a project manager through December 2016 to develop a concrete plan and timeline for the community center effort.
9. Creation of a Race, Poverty and Inequality Steering Committee
  • We plan to re-establish these meetings through appointment of a steering committee with student, faculty and staff membership.
10. SLU sponsorship of a national conference on racial equality
  • In 2015, we hosted a “Jesuits and Race” symposium.
  • In 2016, we hosted a “Race, Faith and Justice” conference and a “African Americans and the West” symposium, which included professional development sessions for local middle and high school teachers.
  • For 2017, a conference on slavery is being planned. We will also co-sponsor and host the Diversity Awareness Partnership’s next Annual Diversity Summit, one of the region's top diversity and inclusion professional development events.
  • Our Office of Diversity and Community Engagement now funds and co-sponsors campus conferences and symposia, as well as supports student and faculty travel to conferences.
11. Appointment of a Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Engagement
  • SLU African-American studies professor Jonathan Smith, Ph.D., was appointed to the role in June 2015. His title has since been renamed chief diversity officer.
12. Establishment of a diversity speakers series
  • The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement has invited or co-sponsored a number of events addressing diversity, equity and inclusion issues. Speakers and performers include: Elijah Anderson, MK Asante, Laverne Cox, George Fraser, Alison Harding, Ayesha Hardison, Janet Mock, Diane Nash, Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou and Toniesha Taylor.
  • The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement also provides regular programming support to diverse Chartered Student Organizations.
  • SLU received $10,000 gift to support its annual MLK Tribute in January, 2017.
  • In February 2017, the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement launched new Diversity Speaker Series Grants to help fund prominent speakers, presenters and performers.
13. Bi-weekly meetings with an inclusive group, including the president, to continue to advance SLU’s efforts to address inequality and poverty in the community
  • We plan to re-establish these meetings through appointment of a steering committee with student, faculty and staff membership.