Living in a diverse learning community that values cultural differences enriches the Wheaton experience for everyone and honors God’s intention for the body of Christ.
Yet despite the breadth of the body of Christ, many members of the Wheaton community continue to express a lack of understanding concerning issues of ethnicity and culture, as well as the theology behind current initiatives to promote diversity among students, faculty, staff, and administration on campus. A sincere commitment to diversity should extend to all levels of leadership. Our Savior designed our diversity, and Wheaton College must seek to honor his lordship by diligently pursuing reconciliation and celebrating our unity in Christ.
Key steps toward deepening ethnic diversity include:
- Revising the Community Covenant to make more explicit reference to the biblical imperative for ethnic diversity.
- Continuing to broaden the range of speakers and worship traditions represented in Chapel services.
- Developing training programs for student leaders.
- Incorporating topics into the curriculum and classroom environment that engage students with a biblical understanding of culture and diversity in the church and society.
- Providing sufficient human and financial resources for Admissions to grow relationships with churches within Spanish-speaking and other communities of color to make Wheaton a school of choice for students of color.
- Increasing our ability to offer full and partial diversity-focused scholarships through additional efforts by Advancement.
Increasing the presence of African-American, Latino, and other underrepresented communities of color on campus will require the College to establish relationships in feeder areas and increase financial incentives, including full tuition room and board scholarships such as the Don and Ann Church and Alvaro L. Nieves Scholarships. While Wheaton already seeks to actively recruit highly qualified students of color, we compete with other schools that are proactive in recruiting the same students by offering full scholarships.
In addition to increasing the number of ethnic minority students on campus, increasing the presence of people of color in faculty and administrative roles will demonstrate Wheaton’s commitment to diversity at every level and strengthen the College’s ability to provide a diversity of mentors for all students.
Yet deepening ethnic diversity is not simply a matter of increasing the number of people of color in the Wheaton College community. It also involves improving the quality of their experience. It is crucial to create safe and positive experiences for students, faculty, staff, and visitors of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. This necessitates intentionality and expertise on campus and through outside review.
In addition to enacting existing proposals like “A Faculty Resolution Regarding Diversity Issues,” we recommend actions to foster a campus community that is increasingly informed about and supportive of Christ-centered diversity, including:
- Expanding and relocating the Office of Multicultural Development in order to enhance its ability to serve the entire student body.
- Providing official avenues for feedback from students and alumni of color through the Student Development division.
- Periodically inviting an externally chaired Diversity Review Panel to evaluate progress.
- Actively recruiting individuals from underrepresented groups for service on boards and advisory councils and in upper administrative positions.
- Increasing support and accountability for Human Resources in efforts to recruit and hire people of color.