Bethany Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We have all been awestruck and horrified by the scenes of violence in the halls of our nation’s Capitol. We sense that our society is deeply troubled and our democracy perilously fragile. These events have shaken our confidence in our constitutional framework that has long provided a stable environment in which peaceful transitions of power take place. We recognize that these events will have reverberations across the United States and that they will be felt on our campus.

It is fit to remember that Old Main was constructed in dark days of a gathering civil war. The shadows of division and death in our country loomed large over that construction and those early days of our College. Our institution’s goals speak directly to the central importance of “educating effective, honorable, humane, and intelligent citizens.” Our College teaches its students that their worthy desires to aspire to “laudable accomplishments” must be accompanied by a commitment to taking “ethical responsibility” for our actions so that they may “become useful and responsible members of society by liberating them from superstition and ignorance, the tyranny of others, and vulgar prejudices.”

After watching this unrest, animated by demagoguery, it is clear that our world needs more Bethanians to create such a world, where civil discourse and ethical responsibility matter, and where respect for humanity and democracy reigns. An education like that offered at Bethany is the truest antidote to the politics of intimidation and destruction that we have seen on such shameful display, and we will continue to provide that education in an atmosphere of safety and security for our students, faculty, and staff. We affirm that all have a right to discuss and debate, but no one has a right to force their opinions upon others by threat or violence.

We also must remember that each of the last two days has seen new records set for the number of our fellow Americans who have died from this dreadful pandemic disease. These difficult days have taken a grim toll, more than 350,000 Americans, too many of them no doubt members of the Bethany family and their families.

The anxiety, uncertainty, and shadows of civil unrest and pandemic will be with us as we begin the Spring 2021 term. Nonetheless, we remain committed to making Bethany the safest possible place to learn and study, to develop the ethical compasses that will guide our nation’s next generation of leaders, and to take strength from our shared convictions that the arc of the moral universe does bend towards justice. These are the tenets of the faith that inspired Bethany’s founding and that will see us all through to the bright promise of Spring.

For those students who are struggling to process the storming of the Capitol last night, we are here for you. Please reach out to Dean Stebbins’ office at 304.829.7631 for additional support, guidance, and referrals. If we can assist any other way, please let us know.

During our time on campus, we have insisted that we are and always will be #ONEBethany. Let us continue to show the world what that means as we remain #BethanySTRONG.

Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg

Dr. Joe Lane
Provost and Dean of the Faculty