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An Open Letter To Our Campus Community On Racial Violence And Injustice

by | Jun 5, 2020

Dear Bluefield University Community –

Although COVID-19 and our summer break are keeping most of us apart at this time, the University Leadership Team, and I feel it is imperative to communicate with you, our campus community. During the current events highlighting our nation’s continued struggle with racial disparity and tensions, we choose not to remain silent and still. It is our responsibility as leaders of this institution to help guide our community to a better place as we find how to navigate through these moments in time alongside one another.

To people of color within our campus community, we want you to know that we hear you. As an institution, we definitively stand against racism and continue to seek improvement in the diversity of our own community and leadership. This upcoming academic year, Bluefield University will set aside dedicated times for meaningful discussions that are open to all members of our campus community. We will listen to understand one another; we will have difficult conversations, and we will begin to address any systemic issues within our control that are identified. We also stand alongside Bluefield State University and Concord University committed to our greater community to assist however needed as we all learn through this tragedy.

One of the wonderful hallmarks of colleges and universities is that they join men and women from all walks of life to live together; engage one another in academic pursuits; and begin the journey of life-long learning, self-improvement, and service. Upon commencement, each of us sets out on a path to transform the world we all share, having learned from these collective experiences and the moments to come in our lives.

To help guide each of us on that journey at Bluefield University, a set of core values establishes our aspirations for the community. Admittedly, we do not live up to the expectation of these values every day. Each of us requires a full measure of grace. We give thanks that Christ provides each of us that measure, which on our own, we cannot find. These values are:

Value One: We are Christian in outlook, Baptist in tradition, and welcoming to each person.

Value Two: We are committed to academic excellence and life-long inquiry embracing the liberal arts tradition through the study of humanities, sciences, professional studies, and graduate programs.

Value Three: We are a diverse community characterized by integrity, mutual respect, support, and encouragement.

Value Four: We are passionate about helping students understand their life calling and become compassionate, globally-minded servant leaders.

In these unsettling times, we remind ourselves of the importance of our third core value. It is important for us to support those within our campus community who desire to be heard in this moment. But this moment in time calls for much more. What we hear in the cries of those protesting is not just to be heard, but to respond. We have reached a tipping point where action is being demanded of each of us. Mutual respect for those in our community dictates that we act to effect change.

As we stand in solidarity to eliminate racial disparities, we pray for and encourage peaceful, non-violent protests. In the words of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, “We as a people are strongest when we use our voices to heal…instead of using our hands to tear it down.” Let us be continually mindful of God’s greatest commandment; to love God and love one another. Let us all heed the command in Micah 6:8 to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Let us work together as a community to transform our world.


The University Leadership Team

Dr. David W. Olive, President
Dr. Marshall Flowers, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Athletics
Mrs. M. Ruth Blankenship, Vice President for Finance and Administration
Mr. Joshua D. Cline, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Mr. Joshua Hood, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Dr. Joshua Arnold, Associate Vice President for Student Development
Mrs. Tonia Walker, Director of Athletics
Mr. Chip Lambert, Chief Information Officer
Mr. Joshua Grubb, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Dr. Lewis Brogdon, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Research
Dr. Henry Clary, Director of Spiritual Formation and Mission
Dr. Pat Neely, Dean of Online and Distance Education
Dr. Richard Farmer, Faculty President
Dr. Shellie Brown, Faculty President-Elect
Mrs. Jordan Dillon, Executive Assistant to the President/Campus Visits and Events Coordinator

Bluefield University

[email protected] • 276.326.4212

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