Social Justice and Equity Committee (SJEC)

The McKendree University Social Justice and Equity Committee (SJEC) was commissioned by President Dr. James M. Dennis in 2015. The committee of students, faculty, and staff strives to promote knowledge and understanding among all members of the McKendree University community about issues of diversity, inclusion, social justice, and equity. Mr. Ranadore Foggs, director of Public Safety, serves as chair of the SJEC.

McKendree University has affirmed a statement by The National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of The United Methodist Church, pledging a commitment to host "a series of conversations on concerns of justice and dignity" and to take explicit action to "prioritize and reshape its policies and institutional culture to foster more fully the dignity of all people." The SJEC provides leadership for these important initiatives.

SJEC Mission

McKendree University values the dignity and sacred worth of all members of our community. To achieve this end, the Social Justice and Equity Committee engages diverse members of McKendree University in meaningful activities to promote positive and sustained relationships among all persons inclusive of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, social class, sexuality, and all other aspects of the human experience.

The SJEC sponsors various activities throughout the year including speakers, workshops, opportunities for dialogue, a book club, and Brown Bag sessions about diversity, inclusion, social justice, and equity for the campus community.

SJEC Presents Series

The SJEC sponsors “McKendree University’s Conversations on Social Justice in America and Abroad.” During these sessions, special guest speakers conduct an open campus dialogue focusing on social justice issues that influence the lives of people in our local communities, our nation, and the world. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend and participate in the dialogue. Conversations are held on Wednesday afternoons, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., on the first floor of Holman Library.

Ann Collins presentation Fall 2017











(click here to download a copy of the schedule)



01/24:  #Me Too Movement - Dr. Joni Bastian, Dr. Shruti Desai, Chelsea Jaeger

01/31:  White Privilege, Can We Talk About It? - Dr. Ann Collins, Dr. Melissa Barfield



02/07:  Affirmative Action - Husch Blackwell Law Firm

02/14:  When Can We Stop Talking About Race? - Dr. Pamela Manning, Shaquille Armstrong

02/21:  The Dangers of Online Dating - How to Protect Yourself - Ranodore Foggs, Chief Dave Roth

02/28:  Compassion Fatigue and Understanding Social Injustice Issues - Colleen Smyth, Dr. Tim Harrison


MARCH 2018

03/07:  The Young Gifted and Black Mentality - Brent Reeves

03/14:  Spring Break - No Meeting

03/21:  American History, Minorities, Civil War, and the Confederacy - Dr. Lauren Thompson

03/28:  Understanding Hispanics and Their Views of Identity - Lilly Soto, Steffy Gonzalez


APRIL 2018

04/04:  Racial Micro Aggressions, What Are You Trying to Say? - Dr. Shruti Desai, Brent Reeves, Steffy Gonzalez

04/11:  DACA, Where Are We Now? - Dr. Aurelie Capron

04/18:  First Amendment Rights vs Hate Speech - Dr. Brian Frederking

04/25:  Healthy Eating, Eating Disorders, and Managing Food Cost in College - Dr. Karan Onstott



9/13: What Happened to DACA – Dr. Aurelie Capron, Dr. Jennifer Guillen, Dr. Melissa Barfield, Dr. Ann Collins

9/20: When Can We Stop Talking About Race?  – Dr. Pamela Manning, Shaquille Armstrong

9/27: “Sister” Empowerment, Elevation of Black Women’s Leadership – Dr. Jackie Kemp

10/4: Higher Education, Escape From Poverty – Dr. Melissa Barfield

10/11: The Policing of Black Men and Minority Communities in America – Dr. Jennifer Webster

10/18: Black Lives Matter, A Debate or Dialogue – Dr. Ann Collins

10/25: Gender Equality, A Social Justice Issue –  Shruti Desai

11/1: NAACP Travel Ban to Missouri – Brent Reeves

11/8: Minorities and Self-Empowerment Strategies – Shaquille Armstrong

11/15: Use of the “N” and the “B” Word, In Perspective – Brent Reeves

Social Justice Book Club

Members of the McKendree community are invited to join the Social Justice Book Club. The first book to be read and discussed is The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas.

Book Cover - The Hate You Give


The novel follows protagonist Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black high school student who witnesses a white police officer shooting her unarmed best friend Khalil. Starr Carter moves between her two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school that she and her brothers attend. The balance of these two worlds collapse when she sees her childhood friend die at the hands of a cop. Everyone wants to know what took place that night and the only person who can answer that is Starr. But the problem is that what Starr says might endanger her life and her home. She must fight for what she believes in despite the given consequences.






The book club will meet four times and will be led by student volunteers. Meetings start the week of February 19, 2018, and will run once a week. Participants may choose one of the following times:

Mondays, noon - 1:00 p.m.

Tuesdays, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Thursdays, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Fridays, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Connection Groups

A signature program of the SJEC is the hosting of dialogue groups called "Connection Groups." Connection Groups are small groups (approximately 5-8 members) of students, faculty, and staff who engage in weekly dialogue about diversity and social justice issues under the guidance of a trained student, faculty, or staff facilitator, called a "change ambassador." Although Connection Groups follow a standard agenda from week to week, the focus of discussions varies within each group, depending upon the needs and interests of individual members. If you are interested in joining a Connection Group or serving as a change ambassador, contact Mr. Ranadore Foggs, chair of the SJEC.

Read a letter from Dr. James M. Dennis to the McKendree University community regarding the formation of Connection Groups.

 Connection Group Fall 2017