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Two years later, an update on the University’s Clock Tower Accords

Two years later, an update on the University’s Clock Tower Accords

Adopted two years ago, the Clock Tower Accords consist of 13 agreements made between the University and campus demonstrators in regards to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion at SLU and beyond.

The University now has the accords displayed on its website, along with updates on the status of each one. As of this writing, five of the accords have been achieved in full.

Namely, an increased budget for the African-American studies program; increased financial aid resources for retention of American-American students at SLU; an evaluation of SLU’s current scholarship programs to better serve African-American populations; additional college prep workshops for students in the area’s most disadvantaged school districts; and the appointment of a Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Engagement, since renamed the Chief Diversity Officer.

The Clock Tower Accords website also mentioned the hiring of a new admission counselor. Dean of Undergraduate Admission, Jean Gilman Cox, says that the new counselor, Ryan Wilson, has been hired in the Pre-College and Access Programs Office.

Another staff member added is Valerie Jensen, assistant director for counseling outreach, to “focus on and expand work with new students and community programs,” according to Cari Wickliffe, the assistant vice president of the Division of Enrollment and Retention Management and director of Student Financial Services.

This past academic year, the University admitted 22% more qualified AfricanAmerican first-year students, which equated to 100 students who were admitted.

Another four of the accords are still pending. These include the establishment of a community center, which, together with another accord, will include an academic center for community and economic development.

An update on the mutually agreed upon commissioned artwork is expected in January. The University anticipates an MLK statue in the CGC. A pair of steering committees are also in the works. One is on on race,poverty and inequality, and the other is meant to meet with the president on a biweekly basis to “advance SLU’s efforts to advance inequality and poverty in the community,” according to the text of the final accord itself.

Three of the accords appear to be only partially achieved. The 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 those neighborhoods has not fully come to fruition.

The University notes the existence of an active bridge program that the Normandy School District has with the University of Missouri – St. Louis, but does not offer any update on a possible Shaw bridge program.

The University does promise a plan this coming May for a collaborative pipeline project formed in partnership with school leaders within a “geographic zone around our campus.”

A national conference on racial equality has also not come to fruition at SLU. Although the University did play host to a “Jesuits and Race” symposium, it drew only a small crowd. Conferences on “Race, Faith and Justice” as well as “African Americans in the West” were hosted earlier this year, but neither can claim to be a “national conference on racial equality.” There is a conference on slavery in the works, and the University plans to host Diversity Awareness Partnership’s next Annual Diversity Summit.

The establishment of a diversity speaker series has also not become a reality on campus. While the University acknowledges a $10,000 gift to support January’s annual tribute to MLK, it points to the work of the Diversity and Community Engagement Office and its “regular programming” to support diverse chartered student organizations, without any further details.

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