University Takes Steps to Address Anonymous Racial Comments
Southern Adventist University is appalled and deeply saddened by the hurtful, insensitive comments regarding race that were expressed on social media in our community on Friday night, February 26. Southern’s mission includes nurturing Christ-likeness in our students. Christ lifted up every race and welcomed all who would come into the community of believers. Those who hide behind anonymity to spread hate and ignorance are not representative of Southern’s values.
Southern students are expected to honor the pledge they took at their first convocation: "I will show respect for all members of the university community—their lives, property, and environment. This includes respect for diversity, ethical use of communication technologies, and community service.” Students are also expected to report any student or employee who is engaging in any discrimination or harassment, including based on race or ethnicity.
Administration has taken the following immediate actions:
- The Yik Yak app is no longer accessible using Southern’s Internet service.
- The administrators of Yik Yak have been contacted regarding the hate speech that occurred on campus and we are awaiting their reply on whether or not they will identify the perpetrator(s).
- The President’s Cabinet met with student leaders and members of the Black Christian Union on February 29 to listen to their concerns and consider their recommended actions.
- President Gordon Bietz will speak to the issues of racism, intolerance, and prejudice at a specially-called campus convocation on March 3.
- Healthy and open campus discussions about race, diversity, and culture are occurring both online and in person. Administration is pursuing further actions that will enhance the opportunity for dialog and education.
- A special time of listening and prayer is being organized this week with leaders from Campus Ministries, the Student Association, and other student organizations.
The President's Cabinet is unanimously concerned about making sure every student feels safe, welcomed, and an important part of our community. Campus leaders will continue to work to ensure that Southern remains a campus that is Christ-centered in belief and action.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light." –Ephesians 5:8-11,13