The CEJ arose following a 2003-06 Irvine Foundation Campus Diversity Initiative grant of $400,000 and along with the dissolution of the Cal Lutheran Women’s Resource Center and the Gender and Ethnic Studies Program.
The Irvine grant focused on transforming the campus into a welcoming, inclusive environment. While Irvine funding ended in 2006, five faculty working groups were established by the Gender and Ethnic Studies Program to serve as interdisciplinary learning communities, promoting peer review and research collaboration on:
- Immigration and global cities
- Globalization and media
- Religion and global change
- Diversity and educational excellence
- Health and social change
These working groups would become the basis for the new Center for Equality and Justice as it was established in 2007.
Several functions of the Gender and Ethnic Studies Program—such as sponsoring events and speakers—were absorbed into the CEJ, while the academic minors in Gender and Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies would continue to be administered under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The CEJ itself has subsequently evolved, especially in terms of its organizational structure, research agenda, and the services it provides to the campus community and to Ventura County more broadly.
Formally established in January 2007 under the directive of (then) California Lutheran University Provost Dr. Chris Kimball, the CEJ exists as an important academic resource for scholarship and programming related to social justice issues.
CEJ's current staff includes a Director, an Associate Director, two Student Program Coordinators, and a Student Intern.