At Goshen College we continually strive to foster a spirit of hospitality and respect. More importantly, when we decide to be a part of the Goshen College community we agree to live by certain Standards. While each of us can fail to live up to each word of the Commitment to Community Standards, we continue to strive to be hospitable and respectful with one another. When we fail to live out the Standards we do not demonstrate the love of Christ and we violate the inclusive intention of the mission of Goshen College. For our college community we believe there is a strong sense of commitment in all of us to work hard at examining our beliefs, attitudes and actions regarding racial prejudice. We also recognize the places in each one of us that need reflection, accountability, repentance and change in our attitudes and behaviors around race. As a community, we want to create space for inclusion and change.
Student Life and the intercultural team at the Center for Intercultural and International Education (CIIE) understand students’ hurt and anger following a racially prejudiced joke at the Open Mic event earlier this semester on January 16, including other prejudicial incidents on campus. We acknowledge that these behaviors violate our Commitment to Community Standards; we must address this openly with one another. Since then, Residence Life professionals have actively met with students involved in these situations to promote reflection, education, accountability and reconciliation.
Due to our commitment to living a life of love and justice, and knowing the public nature of this situation, Student Life and the intercultural team invite students to participate in structured conversations about motivations, attitudes and behaviors around race. The structured conversations serve the purpose to express our thoughts regarding the response to Open Mic event, promote reflection on racial prejudice, hold one another to account and create space for inclusion, personal change and community reconciliation. The gatherings will be held in the CIIE lounge at 10 a.m. on March 27, March 30 and April 6.
Statement from Resident Assistants:
We are sorry.
We are sorry that we failed to address the racially prejudiced comments of the January Open Mic Night with an immediate and timely public response. As Resident Assistants we apologize for the lack of an appropriate response, and recognize that our inexperience in dealing with issues of racism is problematic. However, our lack of experience does not excuse our inaction, and clearly highlights inadequate education and training. We would like to apologize for marginalizing issues surrounding race.
Our goal as RAs is to create an environment that fosters community and celebrates diversity, and we acknowledge that we failed to live up to these expectations. As leaders in this community, we are deeply remorseful for the hurt that we contributed to, and the culture of racism we have participated in. We acknowledge that an apology is insufficient and that we continue to fall short. If you have any ideas about how we can best work towards this goal, please do not hesitate to talk to any of us.
Anya, Sadie, Kayla, Laura, Zach, Chris, Andrew, Barbara, Molly, David, and Jacob