Student leaders at Pacific Union College (PUC) have published a remarkable statement affirming the diversity within their campus’ student body.
The undated statement, signed by twenty students who consider themselves “representatives of the future generations of leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist church,” commits them to standing on campus and in their communities with women, LGBT+ people, immigrants and refugees, Black people, and people of other faith traditions.
As the statement appears on the PUC Student Association website only as a graphic, I’ve transcribed it below as written.
LETTER FROM THE STUDENT LEADERS OF PACIFIC UNION COLLEGE
In these times of great controversy, disappointment, and fear, we the student leaders of Pacific Union College feel it necessary to make clear and official our stance on diversity within our academic community and the world at-large. We affirm the following statements not only in our capacity as student leaders, but as representatives of the future generation of leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
We affirm without reservation the full equality and empowerment of women. We pledge to support women in leadership, ministry, and academia. We embrace and support the rights and dignity of all women regardless of race, class, ability, religion, and sexual orientation.
We affirm without reservation the dignity, humanity, and rights of the LGBT+ community. We acknowledge that LGBT+ individuals are human beings deserving of respect and not a mere culmination of sexual acts. We affirm their rightful place within our campus, our church, and community. We reject and pledge to combat all forms of bullying, mistreatment, and ostracizing of members of the LGBT+ community. We believe that we are called to fully love and accept these individuals, not as “less than” but as true equals deserving full respect and freedom from judgment and condemnation.
We affirm without reservation that immigrants and refugees are welcome. We reject the ideological motivation behind mass deportations, and pledge to stand up for the rights of DACA students and those with family members who are undocumented. We acknowledge our moral and religious responsibilities to the immigrants and refugees who strengthen our communities and our country (Lev. 19:9-10, 33-34). We believe fully that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves in the full gamut of interpretations and without exception (Gal. 5:14). It is our belief that immigrants do not harm or diminish, but strengthen our community with diversity of culture, experience and thought.
We affirm without reservation that black lives matter. We reject and pledge to combat racism in all forms, and to yield to the voices of racial and ethnic minority students on ways to improve our campus and ourselves in regard to acting and speaking in a respectful and Christ-like manner. We acknowledge both the history of racism within the Seventh-day Adventist church, as well as the improvements which have been made throughout our history. We also believe that there is always room for improvement and that we are called to live by Jesus’ example of empowering and giving voice to the oppressed at every opportunity (Luke 4:18). We pledge to preserve and protect the rights of not just black but all minority students to the best of our abilities within the realm of Seventh-day Adventist higher education and our communities at large.
We affirm without reservation that interfaith and intrafaith diversity strengthen us as a religious community. We acknowledge our inability to see and understand the full truth and extent of God’s message and character (1 Cor 13:12). We therefore pledge to welcome and give platform to the perspectives and experiences of all faith traditions, even those with whom we disagree, so that we may strengthen our own personal understandings of and relationships with God.
We vow to hold our college accountable and ensure that Pacific Union College remains respectful, truly welcoming, and supportive of the full spectrum of human diversity. We recognize that not all members of our campus community may agree with the aforementioned statements, and we pledge to preserve the rights of students to express themselves even in ways that may contradict our viewpoints. We further promise to commit ourselves to creating platforms for real constructive dialogue about issues faced by our fellow students and our community.
We affirm without reservation that there are no disclaimers to the love, salvation, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
ht: Herb Montgomery