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PLNU Official Statements

There is a need for more spaces to listen and learn — about the white supremacist systems PLNU operates in, about our blindspots and inherent biases, about the actionable ways we can root out systematic racism and oppression. There is also a need for different and better forms of anti-racist action and leadership at the university. This is the work we are committed to, not in word, but in action. This is also long-term work. It can not and should not be a limited-time exercise. It must be intentionally woven into our day-to-day actions, conversations, and operations. This will take time, and it will take all of us. 

Our diversity leadership team, co-led by PLNU’s Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Carr, Dr. Jimi Valiente-Neighbours with the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Family Sciences, Dr. Montague Williams from the School of Theology, and Kim Berry Jones from the Center of Justice and Reconciliation, are reviewing PLNU’s policies, culture, and community as it relates to racial justice. While we continue to plan tangible action steps, both immediate and long term, we continue to seek your feedback. 

We appreciate the members of our PLNU community who have shared your voice to help our leadership in their ongoing work. We ask you to keep doing so by emailing diversity@pointloma.edu or commenting on social media.

Official Statements

Message from Dr. Brower – June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

Dear Friends -

Since we first announced our plans for Fall 2020 on May 28, the PLNU community has been diligently at work reimagining and refining plans to return to learning, living, and working together. 

In the midst of this preparation, we have also been confronted with the current torment and long history of racial injustice within our nation and what that means within our community. These have been hard days, preceded by a season of upheaval and uncertainty brought on by a pandemic that many of us could never have imagined.

Over the past month, I have been encouraged by the clear articulation of opportunities for our university, humbled by our failings as a community of believers, and convicted to do better. As we continue important conversations on racism and injustice, may we acknowledge this call and commit to the hard, messy, and transformational work ahead of us. 

This work will take time and it will take each of us. But it is crucial in our preparations for fall and for the years to come.  

More details on these efforts will be shared as the newly formed leadership team begins their work. Thank you to our MOSAIC student leaders for their honesty, vision, and willingness to come alongside PLNU in our work to build a community where diversity and inclusion flourish.

It is clear to me that in our preparations for fall 2020, we also have an opportunity as an institution of higher education grounded in the Christian faith to pursue reconciliation in our community and live out our calling in ways we have yet to realize. 

As I look toward the first day of classes, August 17 for traditional undergraduates, August 31 for graduate students, and September 7 for adult students, I'm excited by the great work underway from every corner of the institution. Academic leadership, faculty, and staff are each doing incredible work to redesign courses, care for our physical campuses, reimagine undergraduate ministries and student life opportunities, and implement important health and safety measures. "Normal" for all of us will be new, but the year ahead has great opportunities for learning together in transformative ways. 

With this in mind, I wanted to share some important updates with you:

Town Hall Series: As we remain distanced this summer and continue to plan for the 2020-2021 academic year, Town Hall meetings have been an important means of connection. We have several meetings coming up in the next few weeks, please plan to join us. 

Tuesday, June 30: 

PLNU Employees: June 30 at 3 p.m.: As we prepare for a phased return to work across our four campuses, join me for an important university update and conversation for the year ahead. Please look for a calendar invitation from Human Resources.

Thursday, July 9: Traditional Undergraduate Town Halls 

Returning Students and Parents: July 9 at 4 p.m.: As we eagerly prepare for your return to the Point Loma campus, I know you have questions for us. Please join me to learn more about our ongoing preparations for the coming academic year, including updates on our campus testing plans, course modifications, and co-curricular programming. More information will be available on the PLNU website.

New Students and Parents: July 9 at 5:30 p.m.: In this meeting, PLNU’s newly admitted freshmen, transfer students, and families will have the opportunity to learn more about our ongoing plans for fall with special attention on New Student Orientation, university health guidelines, and campus life. Details will be available on our website and new students will be invited by the Undergraduate Admissions team.

Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) Students: Despite changes to the undergraduate calendar, the 2020-2021 Graduate and Adult Degree Completion Academic Calendars remain the same. The formats will vary by program type. GPS students will receive details on their specific program formats, learning modalities, and student support services from their program directors next week.  

Faculty Development: As I’ve mentioned previously, PLNU faculty stepped up significantly in the spring as we quickly switched to remote course delivery due to COVID-19. As we prepare for fall, the faculty have responded yet again to ensure a PLNU caliber educational experience for the year ahead. Additionally, the Center for Teaching and Learning continues to release robust training and development opportunities for faculty across the university in a variety of areas, including faculty mentoring, course design and development, student engagement strategies, and alternative methods of assessment. Thank you to each of our PLNU faculty who continue to exhibit great care for students and a commitment to excellence in teaching and learning with students.

Face Coverings: A reminder that face coverings are required at all PLNU campuses. This precautionary measure is in line with Governor Newsom’s statewide order regarding face coverings for individuals in public spaces. As California and the nation continue to see a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, this precautionary measure is particularly important. Based on projected trends, our face-covering requirement will extend into the fall semester as we continue to prioritize on-campus educational experiences beginning with our undergraduates on August 17 and following in our other campus settings. 

As we look toward August with anticipation, there is much work ahead of us. 

It is my prayer that fall 2020 brings more than a return to our campuses. Together, may we experience transformation across our entire community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I’m committed to continued personal growth and university growth as we move forward loving the Lord our God with heart, mind, soul, and strength and truly loving our neighbors as ourselves. 

As we have experienced countless times in this season of distanced community, this journey must be taken together. Please join me as we anticipate and pray for all God has before us. 

Positively,

Bob Brower, President
Point Loma Nazarene University

Message from Dr. Brower – June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020

Dear Friends,

Juneteenth invites us to reflect upon the fact that on June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after Emancipation Day, and two months after the confederacy’s surrender, there were still people who remained enslaved in the United States. Today, may we recognize Juneteenth as a reminder of the work we still have ahead of us to achieve racial justice, both nationally and in our own community, and PLNU’s commitment to that work. 

In that spirit, on June 11 I held a meeting of staff and faculty members whose work intersects with issues of diversity and race across the PLNU community. It became clear in our meeting that before any conversation on actionable next steps could begin, persons of color within this meeting needed the opportunity to voice their opinions, their frustrations, their fears, and their anger on the racial and social injustice they have experienced, both within our community and beyond. This initial meeting was a clear call to continue to listen, receive feedback, and seek to understand while also pursuing the work of reconciliation within our community. 

We cannot change what we do not know or understand. This means that we must take responsibility to work through challenging issues, including the systemic causes of injustice and racism. As a Christian university committed to excellence in teaching, learning, and whole-person development, we have the tools to understand the history and legacy of white supremacy, the responsibility to have the hard conversations, and the opportunity for transformation in our policies and broader campus culture. 

An example of this is PLNU's Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR) and their recent #DoTheWork effort which provides prompts and lists of resources to begin educating ourselves on recognizing systemic racism and internal biases. Kim Berry Jones, director of the CJR, also had the opportunity to sit down with Miles McPherson, senior pastor at The Rock Church, to talk about her ongoing journey to unpack internalized racism. I would encourage you all to watch Kim and Pastor Miles’ conversation and be encouraged and challenged with me. Kim says it well: “It's a difficult, yet beautiful place of connection. A place where we can truly understand the Imago Dei in each of us — each of us made in the image of God."

Moving forward, I have asked a group of leaders from this initial meeting to co-lead our efforts. These include; PLNU’s Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Carr, Dr. Jimi Valiente-Neighbours with the School of Sociology and Social Work, Dr. Montague Williams from the School of Theology, along with Kim Berry Jones in her leadership of the CJR. I am grateful to each one of these individuals for their expertise and willingness to collaboratively lead in these crucial days. 

Next week we will begin a series of listening and learning opportunities beginning first with conversations with our MOSAIC student leaders — specifically PLNU’s Black Student Union. The purpose being to listen intently to specific concerns and needs. But this is only a start. There will be additional opportunities throughout the summer as this leadership team begins work. Although those details will take time, we are committed to working with student leaders, faculty, staff, and alumni at PLNU to create a community where all feel welcomed and loved as individuals, just as Christ has called us to love one another.

Thank you to the many members of the PLNU community who have shared through email and social media. Many of you have reached out — thank you. You have shared stories of fear and fatigue, provided your thoughts on opportunities for policy change, and expressed a clear desire for action. As the new group gets underway, I would ask you to continue to share your experiences, your frustrations, and your hopes moving forward by emailing diversity@pointloma.edu. We will continue to review and incorporate this feedback into our planning. 

Through the efforts of PLNU students, staff, faculty, and alumni over the years, we have become a better university in many ways. But there is more work to do. Let us pray for strength and wisdom for our journey ahead as we continue to work toward justice as a Christ-called community.

Prayerfully,

Bob Brower, President
Point Loma Nazarene University

Message from Dr. Brower – June 5, 2020

June 5, 2020

Dear Friends,

The racial violence that we have witnessed against people of color these last weeks and months has brought clear attention to a brokenness of our human condition and separation across society that must be addressed. What breaks my own heart, and surely the heart of God, is that our very own students, faculty, and staff have experienced these issues of racism, discrimination, pain, and trauma in the PLNU community. 

Since my initial statement, many members of our community — our underrepresented students, faculty, staff, and alumni of color, together with those who stand alongside them — have reached out to share stories of pain, fear, hopelessness, and also hope for PLNU and our nation. These stories of hurt and deep pain have also been accompanied by calls for action. As a Christian community, the imperative is clear: There is considerable work to be done in order to bring about real change.

As I have listened and reflected in these days, I am compelled to speak frankly about how we treat people of color in our community and our country. I have asked PLNU leadership to do the same. 

As such, I am convening a group of faculty and staff across PLNU next week, June 11, to expand upon previous efforts and discuss comprehensive opportunities for action as it relates to the issues of race and ethnicity in our community. Specifically, this work will review PLNU’s policies, culture, and community as it relates to racial justice. While we continue to plan tangible action steps, both immediate and long term, we continue to seek your feedback. 

These may be difficult and uncomfortable conversations as they require reflection and accountability that is not always easy. However, I believe these efforts are central to our mission as a university of higher education and as a community of believers. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to seek understanding, learn together, and commit to change within and beyond the university community as we live out our purpose and calling before God.

Last week I shared that Micah 6:8 is not a call to journey with God alone, but with others. This call is one of action in pursuit of a just and merciful God. As Christians, we are compelled and empowered to work against injustice and call out racism in any form. Let this be a time for humble reflection, sincere repentance, and a commitment toward action now and through all of PLNU’s legacy. 

Prayerfully,

Bob Brower, President
Point Loma Nazarene University

Message from Dr. Brower – June 1, 2020

June 1, 2020

Dear PLNU Community,

As a Christian university community, we often come together in worship and prayer. It seems right and important that given the events of this past week we gather virtually for prayer. The virtual prayer service is scheduled for today Monday, June 1, at 6:00 PM (PDT) through the PLNU Chapel YouTube channel. We will come before God to grieve, lament, reaffirm our faith, and seek God’s guidance and wisdom for the journey ahead. I hope you will join me and many from the university as we continue to pray for God’s presence and healing in our lives and across our nation - together.

May God’s mercy and peace be upon each of us and all of us.

President Brower

Message from Dr. Brower – May 31, 2020

May 31, 2020

Dear PLNU Community,

Although the past few months have brought physical separation to our community, the events of the past few weeks call us, as a Christian community, to be a people of unity, humility, justice, and mercy with and to all people.  Micah 6:8 tells us that, what the Lord requires of us is to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.  However, this is not a call to walk alone, as there are others on this journey with whom we must share the burden and journey of pain and injustice if mercy and healing are to be experienced by all people.

The tragic disregard for Black lives in the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor touch each of us because they are beloved daughter and sons of God. We grieve for them and their families, and we must also grieve whenever hatred and injustice occur - everywhere it happens.  I grieve because I know we have members of our own Loma community who are hurting right now and experiencing personal pain from the oppression and injustice that they have experienced.  I also continue to affirm that systemic racism in any shape or form will not be tolerated at any of our campuses.  As a community, with unity and love, we must grieve together. But we must also work against injustice and live lives of mercy if we are to see the change needed in our lives, neighborhoods, and country. 

As a Christian university community, we often come together in worship and prayer to experience the presence of God and to affirm that we are God’s children.  Regardless of our physical separation in these days, I would invite us all to come together and pray during a virtual prayer service to be held tomorrow, Monday, June 1, at 6:00 PM (PDT) through the PLNU chapel YouTube channel.  Together we will come before God to grieve, lament, reaffirm our faith, and seek God’s guidance and wisdom for the journey ahead. I hope you will join me and many from the university as we continue to pray for God’s presence and healing in our lives and across our nation - together.

May God’s mercy and peace be upon each of us and all of us.

President Brower