President Stoltzfus joins other Indiana higher ed leaders supporting stronger language in hate crimes bill

President Rebecca Stoltzfus

Goshen College President Rebecca Stoltzfus joined 15 other leaders from Indiana colleges and universities in signing a letter seeking stronger language in Indiana hate crimes legislation, which was recently “gutted” of language that would “enhance penalties against criminals who harmed others based on their disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“Passing SB 12 as it stands today — without explicitly listing specific classes — will bring more harm to our state and further perpetuate the negative perception of Indiana,” the letter reads. “It will push out more of our students and detract more talent from coming in.”

 » Read the full letter

Leaders of Butler University, DePauw University, Earlham College, Franklin College, Goshen College, Hanover College, Indiana Tech, Manchester University, Marian University, Martin University, Rose-Hulman, Saint Mary’s College, Trine University, University of Indianapolis, University of Notre Dame and Wabash College also signed this most recent letter.

In August 2018, President Stoltzfus co-signed a letter along with the presidents of 23 other Indiana private colleges and universities calling on the Indiana General Assembly to enact a hate crimes law.

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 a college president in the great state of Indiana and as a person of faith, I have supported strong hate crime legislation and joined other college presidents and community leaders who called for such action,” President Stoltzfus said. “Goshen College students went to significant effort to testify to the Senate committee on this. We were deeply disappointed with the bill recently passed that lacked the policy teeth it needs to be a real bias crimes law.”

In February 2019, six Goshen College students and an administrator testified before the Indiana senate in support of the full hate crimes bill, including language about age, ancestry, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or religion.

“The years a student spends in college are vitally important,” President Stoltzfus said. “Young people from this community, the state, the nation and the world come to our campus to live and learn, and to understand more about how to live in an increasingly complex and diverse world. It is my responsibility to make certain that each student feels welcomed, wanted and able to do their best work. Our very future depends upon this effort.”