Social Justice and Equity Committee (SJEC)

Message from McKendree University President Daniel Dobbins


Members of the McKendree University Community,

It is clear we are living through an unprecedented time in the history of our nation. Like many of you, I am profoundly sad and moved by the events of recent days and in particular, the death of George Floyd and the civil unrest that has followed that tragic loss of life.

At McKendree University, we believe in the fair and equitable treatment of all people. We value the dignity and sacred worth of all members of our community. These are words written in the mission statement of our Social Justice and Equity Committee. The SJEC promotes positive and sustained relationships among all, inclusive of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, social class, sexuality, and all other aspects of the human experience.

It is disappointing to me and to many in our community to realize how far we still have to go to achieve these basic principles and how truly broken that walk continues to be for so many in our campus community and beyond. We must stand together as One McKendree and work collectively for fair treatment, social justice and unity.

We speak often at McKendree about responsible citizenship as a tenet of our academic mission, which is represented by the acronym REAL (Responsible Citizenship, Engagement, Academic Excellence, Lifelong Learning). Embedded in the mission is a commitment to each member of our community to feel empowered to find your own voice and engage in positive change. I call on all of us in the McKendree community, as caring, responsible citizens, to be a part of the dialogue, to continue to learn about the issue of racial discrimination, and to promote positive change in our communities, both at home and on our campus. 

Please join me in playing a role that brings about the positive change that we all desire.


Daniel C. Dobbins, President

McKendree University




The McKendree University Social Justice and Equity Committee (SJEC) was commissioned by the University president 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.

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

Campus Conversation

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.







11/13/19: What Does Thanksgiving Mean to You? The Historical Account of Thanksgiving & It's Legacy in American Culture & Memory-Dr.Lauren Thompson

11/6/19: Why the Trump Impeachment is about Ukraine-Dr. Brian Frederking

10/30/19: The Straight Pride Movement-Kevin Kao and Paul Worrell

10/16/19: Social Justice Issues and the LGBTQIA+ Population-Julie A. Crawford

10/9/19: Sex Work in the U.S.: Does the Oldest Profession Need an Update?- Kae Edgcomb

10/2/19: #BreakingTheStigma: Mental Health Awareness-Allison Hoshide

9/25/19: Anti-Hazing in Greek Organizations-Phi Beta Sigma, Edward Hill

9/11/19: Community Harm Reduction Strategies for Drug Abuse:  Dr. Stephen Hagen

4/24/19: Social Justice and Equity Committee Recap

4/17/19: "I'm Calling the Cops on Black People!"-Brent Reeves

4/10/19: Food Justice and Food Access-Rev. Dr. Tim Harrison

4/3/19: American Civil Rights Impact on North Ireland-Ciara Mallon

3/20/19: Music and Politics-Camyla Herandez

3/6/19: "Why are they doing that?" Understanding Trauma and Student Performance-Libby Trammell

2/27/19: How Rich is Too Rich?-Dr. Kevin Zanelotti

2/20/19: Who Called the Police? FAKE CRIME-Ranodore Foggs

2/13/19: What's Up with Blackface?-Dr. Melissa Barfield

2/6/19: Gender and Income Inequality, Men vs. Women-Dr. Melissa Barfield

1/30/19: Female Genital Mutilation-Dr. Brenda Boudreau

1/23/19: Stokely Riots-Brent Reeves

1/16/19: U.S. Human Rights Policy-Dr. Brian Frederking

11/28/18:  Indigenous Communities - Dr. Lauren Thompson

11/14/18:  Legitimizing Hate, Part 2: Media Portrayal of Violent Crimes - Dr. Pam Manning

11/07/18:  Legitimizing Hate, Part 1: Hate Crimes - Dr. Neil Quisenberry

10/31/18: Church and Politics - Rev. Dr. Tim Harrison

10/24/18:  Preventing Violence Against the Transgender Community - Spectrum Alliance

10/17/18:  Is There a Stigma Against Mental Health Treatment in the Latinx Community? - Stephanie Gonzalez, Stephanie Gutierrez

10/10/18:  Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome - Jazzmine Mitchell, Brent Reeves

10/03/18:  Diversity in the Latinx Community - Dr. Aurélie Capron

9/26/18:  Causes and Impact of Family Separations - Dr. Ann Collins

9/19/18:  So You Think Jim Crow is a Thing of the Past? - Dr. Lauren Thompson and Caden Owens

9/12/18:  Colin Kaepernick and the Nike Campaign - Shaneise Tally and Camyla Hernandez




Social Justice Book Club

Members of the McKendree community are invited to join the Social Justice Book Club. This spring, the Social Justice Book Club Selection is Dear Martin by Nic Stone. Past selections include The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas and In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Buford. Check your email or visit the library for announcements about joining.

Dear Martin Book CoverAbout Dear Martin:

Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.




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 the University president to the McKendree University community regarding the formation of Connection Groups.

 SJEC Connection