Jesuit Diversity Neglected
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 02:03
Wednesday’s white smoke emerging from the Sistine Chapel signified not only the election of a new pope but also the culmination of reviewing the most diverse array of papal candidates in Catholic history. The cardinals on the suspected short list came from a variety of nations, including Brazil, Argentina, Ghana and Canada, bringing with them a multitude of varying life experiences and points of view.
With the election of the new South American and Jesuit pope in mind — both firsts — it is worth considering the value of increasing the diversity of Georgetown’s own Jesuit community in order to bring a richer pool of backgrounds and opinions. The university is well known for being one of the most progressive Jesuit institutions in the country, yet it lacks any formal program for expanding Jesuit diversity.
The university’s current ethnic breakdown for its 51 Jesuits — with four Hispanic and one black Jesuit — is surely in part a result of the available pool of candidates, but putting a focus on diversity when seeking out new Jesuits would be worthwhile to broaden the spectrum of Jesuit voices.
Marquette University has an affirmative action program for Jesuit hiring in place, and instituting such a program at Georgetown could spur administrators to look harder for qualified Jesuit candidates that bring different perspectives and life experiences to the table. Our current Jesuit diversity may simply be in line with our peer institutions, but Georgetown has the opportunity to lead the way in increasing diversity across all Jesuit universities. As devoted educators, the Jesuits would seemingly jump at the chance to broaden their horizons by bringing in a diverse array of Catholic teachers. After all, one of Georgetown’s finest attributes is the plurality of its professors.
On any given afternoon, the ICC Galleria is filled with lively conversations on a variety of worldly topics in a multitude of languages. It would be highly beneficial to bring this same spirit to Wolfington Hall.