Photo of students protesting

Social justice

The idea of social justice is fundamental to the Benedictine values and Catholic Social Teaching that guide Saint Martin’s University. Our belief that God lives in and is reflected in every person is a cornerstone to our dedication to hospitality, service, sustainability, community and much, much more.

A "revolution of tenderness"

We are all parts of a whole, interdependent and in solidarity with others.  As Saint John Paul II wrote, “we are all one family in the world” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis). Our responsibility in Catholic higher education is to educate students to value the dignity and worth of every human being and promote the common good.

In his 2013 encyclical, “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis called for “a revolution of tenderness.” He asked that each individual and community work to create a more just and caring world in which each person, especially those most vulnerable and marginalized, become full and equal members of society.

While he was primarily speaking to Catholics, his message resonates with all people who seek a more just world, people of all faith traditions, backgrounds and belief systems and those who are non-religious.

As part of the Saint Martin’s community, students are given many opportunities to reflect on and engage in social justice issues. We encourage students to question systems of oppression that deny human dignity and freedom, and to create a just and peaceful world in which all people and groups are valued and respected.

Becoming the voice of those who have none

Inspiring 2015 graduate Jeneva Burton is part of many stories, including that of Saint Martin’s, where she came as a freshman and learned to be a leader, serving as student body president her senior year. With a newly minted degree in criminal justice, she plans to continue her story, seeking a law degree so she can work in the field of civil rights.

"I am Martin Luther King’s dream.”

I am one of the few of my friends in school right now. These friends see so much potential in me but barely see any in themselves. I have to overcome stereotypes placed on me, on us, on our community. I am their story. I watch my best friend from kindergarten struggle. She was pregnant at the age of 16, and has worked job after job so she can support not only herself but her daughter. She pushes me to be better and do better. I am her story.

Read more of Jeneva Burton’s Saint Martin’s story »

Learn about social justice issues from experts

Robert A. Harvie Lecture Series -- Promoting social justice awareness

The Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series raises awareness of local, state and national social justice issues. It honors the work of Dr. Harvie, former professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Saint Martin's. The popular series is held four times a year and is free. The public is welcome!

Setting the tone for social justice

Father Jerome Toner, Saint Martin’s Labor Priest

Each year, Saint Martin’s University honors a student in the social science division with the Father Jerome Toner Award for Student Activism. It is named for a remarkable man of faith who not only was active in social justice issues but also taught students to follow in his footsteps. Father Jerome, who is called “Saint Martin’s Labor Priest,” was noted for his grassroots labor organizing activities in Brooklyn and other work in the labor movement

Read more about Father Jerome’s work for labor rights.