Editor's Note: On June 1, the Senior Administrative Cabinet sent the following message to the campus community following the violence that claimed the lives of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. The message, which was published on Wheaton's website and social media channels, is printed here in full.
Words: Katherine Braden ’16
Photos: Tony Hughes
Dear Campus Community,
We all are witnesses to the egregious and senseless violence that recently claimed the lives of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. Their deaths speak to the enduring presence of systemic and institutional racism within our society. As a community, we are deeply distressed by violent acts that have persisted in our country for more than four centuries.
As Christ followers, we denounce systemic racism and police brutality against any racial or ethnic group. Today especially our hearts are filled with pain for the inhumane treatment of our brothers and sisters in the African American community. We stand united with African American students, faculty, and staff who are all deeply affected by these ongoing acts of racial violence and other sinful injustices, often on a daily basis.
Wheaton College believes that the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of our students, faculty, and staff within the African American community is essential for learning and thriving. Therefore, we are also committed to identifying and addressing policies and systems in our own institution that hinder access and success of members who belong to marginalized and oppressed groups. In order to have the impact on the world that God is calling us to have, we are resolved to think and act in ways that create a more loving, equitable, and just community.
Wheaton College pursues a biblical commitment to respect and love all people as equal image-bearers of Jesus Christ. This is mandated by Scripture, promised in our Community Covenant, and detailed in our Christ-Centered Diversity Commitment. As part of this commitment, we plan in coming days to curate a conversation featuring administrators, faculty, and staff on Christian responses to racial violence.
To the members of our community belonging to the African diaspora, please know that you have our love, support, and concern. We pray for God’s grace and protection on you and your families during this difficult time in our nation’s history.
Please remember that this summer, as always, you can receive counseling and support through the Office of Multicultural Development, the Office of Student Care Services, the Counseling Center, the Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Intercultural Engagement, and the Chaplain’s Office.
In keeping with our calling to pray, we intercede specifically for God’s comfort for the families of those who have lost their loved ones, for God’s healing and sanctifying work in our world, and for God’s protection and guidance for our campus community.
In Christ’s service,
Philip Ryken, President
Sheila Caldwell, Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer
Paul Chelsen, Vice President Student Development
Margaret Diddams, Provost
Kirk Farney, Vice President for Advancement, Vocation, and Alumni Engagement
Marilee Melvin, Special Assistant to the President
Chad Rynbrandt, Vice President for Finance & Operations, Treasurer
Silvio Vazquez, Chief Enrollment Management Officer
To the members of our community belonging to the African diaspora, please know that you have our love, support, and concern. We pray for God's grace and protection on you and your families during this difficult time in our nation's history.