History of the Hiring Policy: Timeline

 

The Goshen College hiring policy has been a topic of discussion in The Record over the last ten years. This timeline contains excerpts from past Record articles discussing the hiring policy and how students have advocated for its alteration on campus. This timelines provides an interesting reflection over how GC students have responded to the hiring policy in the past, along with how the movement for change has developed from earlier responses.

 

 Article, “Safe Zone training next week” By: Whitney Phillips in September 25 issue, 2008

Advocates Club is hosting Safe Zone Training Tuesday to help inform people of the difficulties that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people face.

 

“I would encourage anyone who has not been to a Safe Zone to come,” said Paul Dirks, “because becoming knowledgeable about these issues is the first step toward combating oppression.

 

Dirks is a member of the steering committee for Advocates, the LGBT and Allies group on-campus. She explained the importance of Safe Zones as places where homophobia and heterosexism are combated, saying “it can be discouraging to feel unsupported by the community around you.”

 

From Article, “Speaking from experience…” By: Tamara Shantz in February 19 issue, 2009

I recently had a very interesting conversation with some college friends about their struggles in finding a Mennonite church to attend. My friends were looking for a church where their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered friends would also be welcome. They weren’t having much success in their search.

Homosexuality and the church has long been a divisive subject in Christian communities. 1 have found that many students here at Goshen College are frustrated and disappointed with the Mennonite church and our failure to fully welcome our LGBT sisters and brothers.

1 have been reflecting on this issue a lot over the past six weeks, in part because of an open letter to Mennonite Church USA that pastors have been invited to sign. This letter, from pastors, calls the Mennonite church to a time of confession – a time to confess that the church, through its exclusion of LGBT sisters and brothers, has lost sight of the vision of the body of Christ as a place of radical hospitality and love.

From Article, “Silent vigil invites healing” By: Sara Rich in April 16 issue, 2009

A crowd of nearly 100 people gathered next to the broken shield in front of the Administration building on Wednesday to join in silent objection to Goshen College’s policy against employing openly LGBTQ faculty and staff. A card table was set up next to the sidewalk, and fliers on the table informed passersby why this large clump of people had crouched on plastic grocery bags on the wet grass, orange strips of cloth tied around their arms, for 50 minutes of complete silence on a Wednesday morning.

“We’re here,” the flier said, “to show that we as a student body (and others) are opposed to this unfair policy, and to be a starting point for later discussion surrounding this topic.”

From Article, “Debate over hiring policy continues” By: Quinn Brenneke in November 21 issue, 2013

Melodies of hymns floated through the air outside of the Church-Chapel last Friday morning before Goshen College’s weekly chapel service even began.  Students, many wearing purple shirts that read “Where is my GLBTQ prof?” gathered for a “solidarity hymn sing,” anticipating a conversation that would be held the following day at a college nearly 600 miles away.

 

At the same time in Harrisonburg, Va., students at Eastern Mennonite University gathered to do the same thing. EMU’s board of trustees would be attending the EMU chapel service, just a day before discussing a university hiring policy that excludes people in same-sex relationships from becoming employees on Saturday.

 

From Article, “Open Letter’s summit discusses debate over equal hiring policy” By: Kate Stoltzfus in December 5 issue, 2013

A crowd of more than 85 students, faculty, community members and three administrators arrived for a long-awaited conversation at Open Letter’s Summit last Tuesday evening.

 

The meeting was organized by Goshen College’s Open Letter group, which advocates for LGBTQ equality in hiring practices, and was held in the wake of change. Eastern Mennonite University announced on November 15 to enter a six-month discussion period to review their same-sex hiring policy, and while EMU is the first Mennonite-affiliated school to make such a decision, Open Letter’s Summit turnout proved there are many people on campus ready not just to talk, but to act.

 

From Article, “For the Record” By: Quinn Brenneke in January 23 issue, 2014

 

On the perspectives page, two students give their opinions about GC Open Letter, a group that advocates for a change to Goshen College’s hiring policy that excludes people in same-sex relationships.

 

Last semester, Eastern Mennonite University announced that it would begin a “listening process” to review a similar hiring policy, bringing the subject to light in other Mennonite colleges like GC. David Yoder, co-editor-in-chief of EMU’s student newspaper The Weather Vane, wrote an editorial published December 6 in which he said, “The danger with listening processes is that they can become preaching processes, or arguing processes.” His warning is ominous.

 

Voices are silenced when we refuse to listen. Even though we have not entered a formal listening process, Yoder’s advice to EMU is valid at GC. Without balancing our conversations with listening, they can quickly turn into “preaching” or “arguing.”

 

From Article, “Leaders entertain hiring policy questions” By: Kate Stoltzfus in April 3 issue, 2014

A crowd of more than 50 students and faculty gathered on campus Wednesday night for a question and answer session about Goshen College’s hiring policy.

 

The event, hosted by Student Senate, brought a panel of administrators, including Carlos Romero, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency; James Brenneman, GC president; Anita Stalter, vice president for academic affairs; and Bill Born, vice president for student life, to field questions.

 

Senate’s goal for the event was to learn more about how students fit into the broader governing system of higher education, as well as how Goshen College and its President’s Council relate to the wider body of Mennonite churches and boards, specifically in discussions
of sexuality.

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