During the fall semester of 2006–07, a group of students calling themselves the “Concerned Students for Social Justice” formed, organizing protests on campus and asking the Willamette community to take actions to reaffirm a commitment to values of diversity and social justice.
In response to these students’ concerns, then-President M. Lee Pelton established the Council on Diversity and Social Justice in November 2006. Chaired by the university chaplain, council membership broadly represents the university’s faculty, students and staff.
The charge of the Council, reaffirmed by President Stephen Thorsett, includes diversity of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Social justice shall be understood as both a process and a goal.
“The goal of social justice education is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society that is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.”
(Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook; Ed. Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin)