We believe that a diverse community is a gift of God and its flourishing is a theological imperative for the people of God. We denounce racism and systems of oppression, and proactively work with the Holy Spirit to eradicate those evils from our institution and society. 

Highlights of our Current Work

We continue the following ongoing work. This is far from a comprehensive list, but provides some highlights:

  • We continue our search advocate training and HR protocol changes which have helped increase our numbers of employees of color. We realize there is still much work to do, but we are committed to maintaining a diverse leadership team
  • We continue to invest in the  Act Six urban leadership program, which has provided full-tuition, full-need scholarships to more than 100 graduates. 
  • We continue the LEAD Mentor program where first-year students of color are paired and mentored by junior and senior students of color.
  • We fund and host the  Voices Project, a student multicultural leadership conference. 
  • We financially support sending students and employees to the  Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation (SCORR).
  • We provide annual diversity training for faculty and staff.

Actions and Change Are Required

The university has been at this work for many years, and we acknowledge we've had failures alongside our successes. Work we said was a priority was not always treated as such. As a community, we own that. We must do better.

Recent Diversity Initiatives

Below are several highlights. You can read the entire plan here.

Campus Culture

We will actively cultivate a climate that encourages students, faculty and staff to have difficult conversations that recognize each individual’s God-given worth. The culture should be characterized by vulnerability, humility, trust, honesty and grace. To this end:

  • We provided all employees with a copy of Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion: How the Bible is Good News for People of Color and author Dr. Antipas Harris , president and dean of T.D. Jakes Divinity School, co-led a discussion series on campus with Dr. MaryKate Morse, dean of Portland Seminary. Additionally, employees were engaged in small-group discussions on racial issues.
  • Employees during the 2021-22 school year will be reading and discussing Letter from Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • We create learning opportunities to aid professors and staff in developing confidence and skill in navigating conversations about race in the classroom and among employees in general conversation. Avenues will be provided for common reading and dialogue to further understanding of race and cultural issues in American culture.

Community and Police Engagement

We are collaborating with Newberg city officials to develop a community that embraces diverse views and people. In addition to encouraging key staff to serve on city committees in service of a diverse community, we encourage student representatives to serve the community and specifically engage with the police force to build understanding and more effective relationships. We already have a commitment from Newberg’s mayor to assist our students of color in sharing their experiences with the city’s police force.

Board of Trustees

Acknowledging we need greater diversity of perspective in our governing body, we added five persons of color to fill open positions on the university’s board of trustees.

Presidential Speaker Series

We have brought diverse voices to campus through the Presidential Speaker Series and many other venues.

Theological Statement

Theological Mandate

George Fox University is a Christ-centered institution that values diversity as an essential dimension of what it means to be human. As a community we believe that racism and other forms of division are destructive to redemptive community. Scripture is clear that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit following the resurrection of Jesus Christ enacts a form of community that at once embraces and transcends our differences. In Jesus Christ our unique, individual identities are both preserved and liberated to engage in redemptive community and in the reconciling work of Christ in the world. We believe that God values each of us in our uniqueness. Therefore we seek to be a community that celebrates the uniqueness of each of its members, including one’s race and ethnicity.

We also acknowledge that our attempts to honor diversity in the present time arise from the recognition that we have sometimes failed to do this as well as we should have in the past. But God, through grace, reaches out to each new generation of human beings and attempts to show us the light of truth. We grasp pieces of this truth but miss others. Our knowledge is partial and incomplete (1 Corinthians 13:9). God lovingly prods us and shows us what we are capable of seeing, and we do our best (intermittently) to respond to the light that we can see. Yet we know from our own history and from the scriptural record of God’s relationships with human beings that we also miss the mark in some important ways.

Here we present a theological basis for our commitment to diversity – a statement that grapples honestly with both the high points and low points of our Quaker heritage and with the ambiguities regarding racial and ethnic diversity in Scripture.

Theology of Racial and Ethnic Diversity