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Message from President Connell – Presidential Task Force on Racial Justice
Published: June 17, 2020
Dear ENC Community:
As we continue to grieve the killing of George Floyd and the systemic racism that plagues our nation and our world, we also acknowledge our need to take tangible steps to bring about needed change. The institutional statements, peaceful protests, prayer vigils, and honest conversations of the last few weeks have been an important means of raising awareness, advancing understanding, and deepening our resolve for racial justice. But we cannot stop here. We must not be content with words and intentions alone. We as a College now need to do the hard work of looking honestly at ourselves and making sure the practices of our campus community align with the biblical call to justice for all of God’s children.
I have deep appreciation for the Church of the Nazarene’s statement about racial justice, a portion of which says: “We renounce any form of racial and ethnic indifference, exclusion, subjugation, or oppression as a grave sin against God and our fellow human beings. We lament the legacy of every form of racism throughout the world, and we seek to confront that legacy through repentance, reconciliation, and biblical justice. We seek to repent of every behavior in which we have been overtly or covertly complicit with the sin of racism, both past and present; and in confession and lament we seek forgiveness and reconciliation. … We call upon Nazarenes everywhere to identify and seek to remove acts and structures of prejudice, to facilitate occasions for seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, and to take action toward empowering those who have been marginalized” (2017-21 Manual, Church of the Nazarene, emphasis added).
It is in the spirit of this urgent call to action that I announce the formation of a Presidential Task Force on Racial Justice. Although we as a College take understandable pride in our racial diversity, we know from conversations with our students and alumni of color that we have work to do. Our policies and practices can and must more fully embody God’s call to extend love and justice to all of our brothers and sisters.
The mandate of the Presidential Task Force on Racial Justice is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the structures, policies, and cultural climate of ENC and recommend concrete ways in which we can improve. I invite the Task Force to look at such areas as curriculum, academic policies, student life, athletics, chapel, employment, alumni relations, recruitment and retention, and governance structures. No area of the College is off-limits to their inquiry.
Task force members will be appointed over the summer and will be selected from key stakeholder groups of the College: faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni, and Trustees. Their work will begin at the start of the new academic year, and I request that they submit their recommendations to me no later than the spring semester of 2021.
The members of the Task Force will be announced as soon as they are all identified, and you will be kept informed about their progress. I ask you to join me in prayer for the work they will be doing…for the work all of us will be doing…as we seek to be a College that never stops seeking and struggling for the Lord’s kingdom to come, His will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
With resolve and anticipation,
Jack Connell, Ed.D, D.Min.
Eastern Nazarene College