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Administration reflects on diversity changes

Pamela Christian shares further updates on Biola’s diversity work.   |   Jose Flores/ THE CHIMES

 

As the topic of diversity and inclusion on campus continue to come up, administration works to find ways to change the functioning of Biola through a new diversity council and bringing in staff to join the conversations.

Living it out

At an event at the beginning of October, “A Presidential Conversation: Living Out Kingdom Diversity,” administration, professors and students spoke on engaging in the topic of diversity. Among the host of speakers, provost and senior vice president Deborah Taylor and vice provost for inclusion and cross-cultural engagement Pamela Christian shared for eight minutes and five minutes, respectively, on Biola’s continuing work on diversity issues.

“I tried to [update students] succinctly so that both the president and provost and then the faculty panel would have the majority of the time,” Christian said. “In my role, my primary responsibility is to make sure these things are happening and I think… students engage most frequently [with] faculty in the classroom and so I thought the faculty panel and then the president’s piece should have the primary emphasis in that evening.”

While the time limit for both Taylor and Christian remained short, Christian felt the importance of the night belonged with President Barry Corey’s speech and the faculty panel, though more time could have allowed her to elaborate.

“I might have gone into more depth with more time, but we provided the highlights and, in a form like that, I think if you go too in depth you might lose people because they don’t want all of the details of that,” Christian said.

forming a diversity council

One of Christian’s highlighted updates included Campus Safety forming a diversity council called the Campus Safety Diversity Outreach Team.

“This outreach team is specifically designed to establish relationships before there are problems that might occur where community doesn’t exist between the Campus Safety or the perceived law enforcement arm and marginalized groups within the campus,” Christian said.

Another new change includes a track for faculty and staff at the Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation to learn about cultural sensitivity and diversity, rather than having only students engage in the conversation.

In an effort to further the diversity conversation with students, administration has planned another event on Nov. 14. from 6:30-8 p.m. in Calvary Chapel. Christian hopes more students will attend and engage in the dialogue.

“No matter how we enter into this difficult dialogue around specifically the race conversation, there is a cultural humility that I believe the Lord expects of all of us. So, even when we have been marginalized or hurt as well as when we are unknowingly privileged to the detriment of others it requires that we demonstrate the character of Christ in our interactions with one another,” Christian said.

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