We define social justice as an ongoing process to which we are committed, rather than as an ultimately achievable goal. At AUNE, social justice entails respect, care, and equity; with a consciousness about the impact of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, family responsibility or family status, marital status, religious or political conviction, pregnancy, age, and disability. By recognizing the dignity of each individual, we seek to build a healthy community based on social justice.
We understand that social justice recognizes the intricate involvement of attitudes in the construction of institutional practices, and seeks ownership and responsibility for these attitudes. To that end, AUNE, as an institution, is committed to engaging in self-examination, gauging assumptions and judgments in order to foster attitudes of respect that invite members of our community into relationships, instead of alienation.
We also recognize that – crucially – social justice extends beyond attitudes and into actions that promote the creation of a space for the human spirit to thrive and the establishment and continuation of just relationships. AUNE’s commitment to social justice challenges each of us to work with others to design and continually seek to strengthen our institution as a place for personal and social development. Our actions for structural change in society also necessarily include advocacy for the elimination of violence and oppression, the alleviation of poverty, promotion of environmental justice and sustainability, and the diminution of inequality. We define our actions to promote social justice not as works of charity but of justice, as we work to become allies for fairness.
As an educational institution, AUNE strives to cultivate social justice through active engagement in course curricula, practica, service learning, and partnerships with outside organizations. We encourage our students to become “change agents” and to graduate prepared to integrate social justice work into their chosen professions.