President Philip Ryken and Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer Dr. Sheila Caldwell discuss Wheaton's Christ-Centered Diversity Commitment.
Christ-Centered Diversity Commitment
Wheaton College is a Christian liberal arts institution committed to treating all individuals as equal image-bearers of Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ, we seek to reflect, value, and promote a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language. We affirm ethnic diversity as part of God’s original and eternal design for humanity and see its importance for knowing and worshipping God and serving his purposes in the world today. Consistent with the Scriptures, as well as Wheaton’s Community Covenant, Statement of Faith, and other policies, we believe that making a commitment to diversity, inclusion, justice, and unity is central to fulfilling the Great Commission, the Greatest Commandments, and our College Mission. We strive to cultivate a grace-filled, Christ-Centered academic community where all members are recognized, loved, and respected [Matthew 22:37-40 and 28:19-20; Revelation 7:9-10].
We acknowledge that our priorities have not always demonstrated our individual and collective dedication to affirm diversity, practice inclusion, seek justice, and pursue unity. Wheaton College was founded in part on its abolitionist vision. However, our institutional opposition to discrimination against people of color and women has not been consistently sustained in policy and practice.
Because of Christ’s reconciling death on the cross, we repent of racism, sexism, and other divisive sins and rededicate our energy and resources to creating an environment where all people know we are Christ-followers by the way we love one another [Mark 3:24-26; John 13-34-35; Ephesians 2:12-16; 1 John 1:7-8].
Wheaton College thus makes the following commitments:
Diversity: To represent all members in the body of Christ who are uniquely, fearfully, and wonderfully made in the image of God. Diverse characteristics include ethnicity, sex, marital status, socioeconomic status, and the unique gifts of persons with disabilities [Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 139:14; Galatians 3:28-29].
Recruit, mentor, and retain highly-capable faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented groups who reflect the wide spectrum of God’s Kingdom [1 Corinthians 12:12; Revelation 7:9-10].
Strengthen resources to improve educational and vocational experiences and outcomes for underrepresented students and students with disabilities [Psalm 10:17-18; Philippians 2:4].
Ensure leadership opportunities for members of underrepresented groups on boards, councils, and other leadership teams [Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:6].
Equip students, faculty, and staff to understand and engage the global realities of an ethnically diverse church and society [Genesis 12:3; Acts 17:26; 2 Timothy 3:16-17].
Inclusion: To create a campus climate where all faculty, staff, students, and alumni are included as full participants who feel welcomed, respected, valued, and supported [James 2:1-4; Romans 15:7].
Identify and transform attitudes and behaviors that allow the continuance of racism, classism, sexism, inequality, and division, while cultivating hospitable attitudes and behaviors campus-wide [Galatians 3:28; Galatians 2:11-13].
Convene and nurture unique talents, experiences, cultural expressions, and perspectives to drive excellence, creativity, innovation, and problem-solving in joyfully exercising the gifts of the Spirit for the benefit of the body of Christ [Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31].
Respect, affirm and encourage women’s God-given talents, ambitions, achievements, and callings while acknowledging different theological beliefs on the role of women and men in the church, the home, and society [Proverbs 31:10-31; Galatians 3:28].
Practice hospitality and create a sense of belonging for all members to ensure that no one is treated as an outsider or suffers exclusion [Leviticus 19:33-34; Acts 2:42-47].
Justice: To act for what is righteous, equitable, and fair in our shared life, academic programs, and campus administration [Psalm 89:14; Micah 6:8; Matthew 23:23; Luke 10:25-37].
Recognize and lament the sinful and self-serving use of power that divides the body of Christ, while supporting those in our community who have been disadvantaged or oppressed [Psalm 146:7-9; Proverbs 17:15; Mark 10:42-45; Acts 6:1-7].
Listen to learn and understand the testimonies, stories, and experiences of others—especially those who have been marginalized—to build trust, connectedness, and community [1 Corinthians 12:26; Ephesians 2:14; Philippians 2:3-4].
Enhance institutional policies, programs, and systems to strengthen and sustain equity-minded practices [Exodus 12:49; 2 Samuel 8:15; Psalm 33:5; Isaiah 1:17].
Build on our history of gathering and devoting financial resources to ensure that economically disadvantaged and underrepresented students, as well as students with disabilities can attend and graduate from Wheaton College [Deuteronomy 10:17-19 and 15:7-8; Psalm 68:5; Corinthians 8:8-15].
Unity: To live and strive together in the Holy Spirit to become one in faith, affection and goals to fortify the Body of Christ [1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Psalm 133:1-3; John 17:20-23].
Facilitate inclusion and forsake selfish ambition to foster and maintain unity within a diverse campus community [Romans 12:15-16; Philippians 2:3-4; Hebrews 10:24].
Encourage self-reflection, repentance, forgiveness, and sanctification as a path to greater awareness, restoration, and unity in the Body of Christ [John 3:16; Ephesians 4:32; Mark 11:25].
Collaborate in scholarship and community to promote and cultivate a deep appreciation for diversity in worship, cultural expressions, and ways of knowing [Acts 2:8-11; Romans 14:6; Colossians 3:15-17].
Pray with and for each other to become like-minded, faithful, and gracious as we strive to be agents of truth, peace, and love [Matthew 5:9; Matthew 18:19; 1 Peter 3:8-9].
Approved by the Board of Trustees, July 16, 2019