Black Lives Matter

This message was sent to the Goshen College community on 6.16.2020

Greetings Goshen College community,

We are writing to connect with you further around the issues of racial injustice and violence made manifest by the recent murders of George Floyd and other unarmed Black people.

Our vision could not be more compelling as, rooted in the way of Jesus, we seek inclusive community and transformative justice in all that we do. We acknowledge the significant work that must be done on our own campus collectively and individually because indeed: Black Lives Matter.

We who lead Goshen College at this time lament and apologize for the ways that being a predominantly white institution (PWI) with a dominant white culture and white privilege have hurt Black people presently and in the past. We recognize that while police brutality is one part of the racist culture Black people daily live with, anti-Black racist culture is also embedded deeply in our campus structures, policies and personal interactions. We have made and will continue to make mistakes, individually and collectively. When we do, we commit to learning and doing better. When we need to apologize, we won’t make excuses, claim good intentions as being enough or expect you to accept our apology.

Our Black students, faculty and staff want and need more. They are tired, as they have often unfairly felt the greatest burden of seeking progress. Now is the time for all of us to step up — especially those of us who benefit from white privilege.

  1. We will keep listening and learning. We are having conversations at leadership meetings, with employees and with students, in all-Black and in racially diverse settings about the work we need to do to dismantle anti-Black racism in our campus community. These conversations are necessarily hard and feel messy. We commit to continue to enter uncomfortable spaces and be open to transformation.
  2. We also understand that actions and change are required.
    • We will provide additional support and resources for the Black Student Union and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
    • We will allocate additional resources and training for our Bias Matters Response Team as we work toward a more coherent and cohesive campus-wide conduct policy. This will include greater clarity and strength of practice around adjudication of bias cases and communications of outcomes.
    • We are planning campus conversations with local law enforcement to talk with our students and employees about policing and our vision for a more just and safe community.
    • The Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), comprised of equal numbers of students and employees, completed this spring its two-year charge to assess, communicate and recommend actions toward our vision of a more inclusive community. Their work expressly included the intersections between identities and various forms of exclusion and oppression. We will receive the report from the task force later this month, and we stand ready to engage the recommendations that they make.

Thanks to those of you who are speaking out to GC friends, colleagues and to us in leadership at Goshen College about your need for change and to hold us accountable toward our vision. We are listening. We commit to lead Goshen College into a more inclusive and just future.

In the reconciling Spirit of Christ,

Rebecca Stoltzfus, president
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, vice president for marketing and enrollment
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Deanna Risser, vice president for finance
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs
Todd Yoder, vice president for institutional advancement