The video “It Is Time, Andrews” was a piercing reminder that the work we have been doing here at the seminary, in acting to heal and strengthen race relations and build a culture of inclusivity, is not yet complete. Jiří Moskala, seminary dean and Teresa Reeve, associate dean, were deeply frustrated that we were out of the country at the time of the release of this video to meet with the students and participate in the AU response. Some have asked about the seminary response, and we would like you to know that we immediately sent out the following communication to our seminary family—student body, staff, and faculty.
Dear Seminary Family,
We feel the pain and frustration expressed in the #It Is Time AU video put out this week and applaud the courage of the students who spoke up. Long-time structural challenges tend to become invisible and it often takes repeated and painful expressions before they can be fully addressed and dealt with. We appreciate the work that Dr. Luxton began last fall in her apology on behalf of the institution at the Lake Union “Let’s Talk” gathering here in Berrien Springs. We look forward to this apology being communicated more directly on campus and for further steps to be taken.
We at the seminary also want to continue moving forward with the work we have done with Dr. Moskala’s institutional apology on April 7, 2015, with the push for greater recruiting and hiring of African-American faculty which is now beginning to bear fruit, and with the plans of our newly re-formed Seminary Committee on Ethnocentrism, Racism and Social Justice Committee. We are grateful for the suggestions made by students in our recent forums and look forward to putting more into place soon.
The seminary is participating actively in the initiatives Andrews University as a whole has committed to in their response (#AUitistime), and is seeking to further dialog among students and faculty to help every member of the seminary family understand the issues of race and diversity and to learn what the seminary-specific next steps should be.