Members of the Bethany Community,
We are deeply saddened by the tragic events at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the victims of the violence and, indeed, to all members of these communities.
The flag of the University of Virginia hangs in our Commencement Hall as a reminder of the many ways that its academic mission informs our own. We are part of the same academic family. Bethany College values “diversity of thought and lifestyle” and “responsible engagement with public issues,” not violence and hate. Our campus and our community must be a place where all feel safe and welcome and where we join together to support and protect one another, even when we disagree. We want all members of the Bethany campus community – students, professors, alumni, donors, and friends – to know that we stand for peaceful dialogue and respectful engagement on the many issues facing our communities and country. We do not support any stance that claims that some among us should not have a voice.
As our students come to campus over the next week, many may feel threatened and unsafe, unsure about whom to trust. As the senior leadership of Bethany College, we want to reassure all our students that we will vigorously protect them, including those who may be targeted by the perpetrators of bigotry and hate. We offer support for anyone who is using their voice and their agency to strive for a more inclusive and peaceful world.
We encourage faculty and student leaders to engage in a peaceful and productive dialogue about what happened in Charlottesville and what these events portend for our campus, our community, and our country. We will make announcements in the days ahead about how we can use this sad event as the beginning of a conversation and hope you will join us in processing your thoughts and feelings about these events. We welcome any suggestions you may have for strengthening our diverse community and assuring the safety of all members of the Bethany family.
President Rodenberg and Members of the Bethany College Cabinet