I signed GC Open Letter because I believe an inclusive hiring policy is right for

Goshen College.

Homosexuality is a controversial topic in Christian circles these days, Mennonite circles notwithstaanding. So it was only a matter of time before the topic came up on this Mennonite campus. As a liberal arts campus populated by critical thinkers, and as a Christian campus packed with compassionate peacemakers, it almost feels natural to entertain such a topic.

However, until professors and other faculty are allowed to openly share their experiences in same-sex relationships, I believe we fall short of being those things.

I expect that many people will agree to disagree regarding homosexuality in the Church. However, as it stands at GC, young and emerging Church leaders are not receiving the education they need to face this increasingly polarized Church.

At this parachurch organization, which trains young people to enter dialogues like these, we are denied the opportunity to see how highly educated professors enter such discussions under the current employment community standards (the “hiring policy”).

GC’s students – and might I add, the Church – need the articulate voices of faculty and staff to model a healthy discourse

regarding homosexuality.

Because Goshen College is not the Church – we support it, we were started by it, but churches do not require anyone to pay five-digit fees annually to be members – it does not even seem relevant to consider the role of homosexuality in the Church on this topic. To me, updating the employment community standards should be a matter of maintaining the integrity of a campus that claims to support critical thinking and compassionate peacemaking.

Along those lines, I call upon GC’s board of directors to consider revamping the employment community standards at their regular meeting scheduled this summer. I ask that GC’s policies actively welcome the hiring of a faculty that reflects the diversity of students, and to compassionately welcome people who have experienced marginalization in the Church and in the world… even if it means being a

“prophetic voice.”

Over the past year, The Record has reported the activities of people with varying opinions on this topic; it has reported on GC’s goal to become a Hispanic Serving Institution and this week, it reports that students facing racial microaggressions are speaking up in the form of a photo project. We strive to be a diverse campus – and steadily we are becoming more so. The student voices reflected in The Record demonstrate that.

When GC Open Letter’s Facebook page chose to feature supportive Latino voices for changing the employment community standards almost two weeks ago, it was a step in the right direction. Anyone regardless of race, culture, gender, et cetera, can support inclusion and equality. Those voices made that point clear.

Therefore, I also call upon the signers of GC Open Letter to extend their advocacy and to ask GC policy makers to more actively and systemically seek to diversify our faculty and staff across all lines.

Where is my Black-and-male prof? Where are my other social minority profs?

During a conversation the other day about my post-college plans, I was encouraged to consider coming back to GC to teach sometime in the future. And I thought how unique it is that I can even consider that a possibility. Many people cannot.

Goshen, ask yourselves, who are the individuals on campus that cannot come back as employees to GC because of policies or systemic discrimination? Are you okay with that?