President Stoltzfus joins other Indiana higher ed leaders in support of hate crimes legislation

Goshen College President Rebecca Stoltzfus recently signed a letter supporting hate crimes legislation, joining 23 other higher education leaders from around Indiana calling for a law which would authorize judges “to enhance penalties against criminals who harmed others based on their disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Indiana is one of five states without such a law, and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has expressed support for Indiana lawmakers to pass hate crimes legislation.

“As Goshen College contributes to the ongoing diversity and vitality of our region and state, I advocate strongly for legislation that clearly protects the dignity and safety of every member of our campus community, and that of our neighbors,” President Stoltzfus said. “Hate crime legislation is one way that our state can express these values.”

“Goshen College also teaches and seeks transformative justice, and we sadly recognize that for some perpetrators, hate crime legislation may lead to longer prison sentences, and that our prisons are not designed toward transformative justice. Therefore it is also imperative for us to contribute to a culture that prevents hate crimes, and to continue to educate and advocate toward prison reforms, as we do through the Inside Out program.”


The letter is below:

August 13, 2018
Senator Rodric Bray
Indiana State Senate
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2785

Dear Senator Bray,

As presidents of colleges and universities in the great state of Indiana, we write in support of strong hate crime legislation, and join regional business groups who call for a law which would authorize judges “to enhance penalties against criminals who harmed others based on their disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.” We stand with Governor Holcomb when he says, “No law can stop evil, but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims & their voices will not be silenced. For that reason, it is my intent that Indiana be 1 of 46 states with hate crimes legislation — not 1 of 5 states without it.” We call upon our elected representatives to act now in support of all Hoosiers, regardless of appearance, location, orientations or religious beliefs.

Indiana is home to some of the nation’s most respected colleges and universities and is a state with wonderful assets and a welcoming spirit. This is a powerful opportunity to make certain that our students and citizens are afforded the same protections they are in all but five other states.

The years a student spends in college are important and impactful. Young people from across the state, the nation, and the world come to our campuses to live and learn, and to understand more about how to live in an increasingly complex and diverse world. It is our job as college presidents to ensure that we create a fertile environment for those lessons to take root. It is our responsibility to make certain that each student feels welcomed, wanted, and able to do their best work. The very future of our country depends upon this effort.

We commend the governor for his stand and join him in calling on the Indiana General Assembly to enact hate crimes legislation for the good of all Hoosiers.


Michele Dvorak, Ed.D.


Ancilla College

John S. Pistole


Anderson University

James M. Danko


Butler University

Amy McCormack, Ed.D.


Calumet College of St. Joseph

D. Mark McCoy, Ph.D.


DePauw University

Avis Stewart

Interim President

Earlham College

Thomas J. Minar, Ph.D.


Franklin College

Rebecca J. Stoltzfus, Ph.D.


Goshen College

William J. Katip, Ph.D.


Grace College and Seminary

Lake Lambert, Ph.D.


Hanover College

Karl W. Einolf, Ph.D.


Indiana Tech

David W. Wright, Ph.D.


Indiana Wesleyan University

David McFadden, Ph.D.


Manchester University

Daniel J. Elsener


Marian University

Eugene G. White, Ed.D.


Martin University

Ray G. Barber


Oakland City University

James C. Conwell, Ph.D.


Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Janice A. Cervelli, FASLA, FCELA


Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Ind.)

Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D.


Trine University

Robert L. Manuel


University of Indianapolis

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.


University of Notre Dame

Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF


University of Saint Francis

Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.


Valparaiso University

Gregory D. Hess, Ph.D.


Wabash College