GCU statement on racial tensions

June 02, 2020 / by / 15 Comments
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To the Grand Canyon University community:

In times of tragedy such as the inexplicable death of George Floyd and the racial tensions that have engulfed this country, it is helpful to focus on a core belief at GCU – that all persons are created in God’s image.

Every single person you come in contact with, whether at the grocery store or at school or your place of work, is a unique creation of God and has immeasurable value. He loves them, and you, with all of His heart. We are all children of God and there is no place for racism, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. We stand with our GCU community to denounce such acts against marginalized people and know that, beyond those words, we are committed to affecting societal change through the actions of our united efforts.

As your television screen gets filled with the images of Mr. Floyd’s reprehensible death, your emotions may be filled with anger, fear, sadness and confusion. Other images of violence, rioting and looting in various cities may add to those feelings. As you process that, always remember this: Jesus’ greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. That conquers all things that can divide us.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. — Mark 12:30-31

Sincerely,

Brian Mueller

Grand Canyon University President


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15 Responses
  1. Rajanique Swain

    As a new student at GCU, your message is disheartening as, it stems from the issue at hand. You didn’t call out what is actually happening and you didn’t show support to the black community. All in all, you stated “All Lives Matter”. When the issue at hand is much worse! Please be more vigilant moving forward in matters, as such and in these instances bring in the black community and voices that are hurting so very badly and feeling hopeless at this time. Jesus stood and called out by name thee oppressed, something I also believe GCU should do, as well.

    Jun.02.2020 at 11:14 am
  2. Shelley

    “We are all children of God and there is no place for racism, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” I agree wholeheartedly! Thank you for giving your thoughts in this very troubleing time!

    Jun.02.2020 at 11:57 am
  3. Savannah

    As a student who has attended GCU for three years now, I have to say I am disappointed in this response. It feels as if the entirety of this statement was tip-toeing around the issue at hand. It has now been 8 days since the passing of George Floyd and this statement is falling short to say the least. As Christians, we should be appalled at the treatment of our black brothers and sisters. We should be angry. We should be in the streets fighting for our brothers and sisters to have their voices heard. You have a platform as a president to advocate for those whose voices aren’t heard, yet you aren’t using it. As Christians we should not be using the hope we have in Christ to dismiss the fight for justice!! Things need to change. This is not the time to be neutral. Right now, as Christians, by sitting back we are choosing the side of the oppressor; which does not reflect our calling of “loving our neighbor.”

    Jun.02.2020 at 1:26 pm
  4. Kitty

    All lives do matter to God…now and eternally!

    Jun.02.2020 at 4:34 pm
  5. Talia Polk

    This statement is well intended but missing the point and while I agree Jesus loves us all we need to support black lives. In addition, as an institution with POC in the student population this statement does not bring them support or comfort. Address the real issues people are protesting. Floyd, Arbery, and Taylor are just the most recent tragedies in a much bigger issue. This statement screams all lives matter and if they do support the black lives who need it.

    Jun.02.2020 at 11:49 pm
  6. Tracy H.

    As a GCU alum, this embarrasses and alarms me. This reads like a vague and half-hearted attempt to be relevant, while not to offend the wealthy white political conservatives that invest in the University. I don’t know what your intentions were when writing this, but I hope you meant to do better. As the Church we can brush racism off as a ‘sin issue’ and spout Bible verses about unity and love while being comfortable in complacency, or we can roll up our sleeves, put legs to the Gospel, and bear one another’s burdens like Jesus bore ours. I understand that bearing a burden so heavy with history and pain is hard and overwhelming, but we do a disservice to the Kingdom of God when we make our black brothers and sisters carry it alone.

    You say that you are “committed to affecting societal change through the actions of our united efforts”. How? What is your action plan? Where is your accountability to follow it? How will the experience of black students at GCU and the surrounding community be different this fall when classes start compared to last spring when they ended? It is becoming increasingly clearer every day that this nation has no more room or tolerance for empty words, B Muels. Is GCU going to lead the way a minister of reconciliation to the Gospel of Hope, which includes the discomfort of confronting evil and joining in Jesus’ suffering, or will our beloved Lope Land be just another in a long history of passive institutions who only care when it’s easy and advantageous to do so?

    Jun.03.2020 at 3:51 pm
  7. Tina

    This statement shows why I do not plan to return to this school given the treatment I received. Using Christianity as a mask to not address the issue at hand: Black lives Matter and what that really means. Look at the fact that some people do not believe Black lives don’t matter. As usual, deflecting from the issue just like not addressing the issues within your master’s and doctoral programs related to students who are Black and students who are of different cultural backgrounds. There seems to be no action taken regarding professors who mistreat students who are white and the students, who are Black and of other races leads to them not completing their degrees. Also, it causes post-traumatic stress disorder and in some cases complex traumatic stress disorder due to mistreatment from staff and the school siding with the professors is disheartening and will not be ignored. Be honest and stop dancing around the issue of discrimination against Blacks and others!!!

    Jun.04.2020 at 6:03 am
  8. Tierny B.

    As a doctoral student paying tuition out of pocket for classes and residencies that I already feel are failing me, I was hoping that GCU would indeed put forth a statement. However, this statement is extremely disappointing, and it doesn’t seem well-intended; it is very intentional. When raising awareness for breast cancer, is it appropriate to dismiss breast cancer by name, and instead defer to all forms of cancer?

    God’s children must do better at empathy, humility and basic listening to understand. It’s not just tragedies such as the recent one that provoke certain emotions, as you suggested in this statement. It is daily experiences, daily marginalization in school, work and at the grocery store. It’s daily interactions with statements like these and divisive narratives on social media and in the mainstream media. Even if you don’t believe these experiences exist, simply acknowledging the sensitivity and pain that is apparent is what biblical empathy looks like.

    Galatians 6:2 instructs us to “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” God bless you and I pray that one day you and similar minded peers will actually want to empathize and live out this scripture.

    Jun.07.2020 at 10:51 pm
  9. JOEL BITTICK

    Brian, appreciate the comments and the focus on the Gospel in changing hearts and promoting justice in all aspects of this Genesis 3 world with live in.

    Black lives ABSOLUTELY matter.

    BLM is now a political movement that has completely missed the mark. 7000 AA deaths at the hands of other AAs. We’ve been manipulated by the MSM and social media into believing a terribly false narrative. Black lives ABSOLUTELY matter. But which Lives mean more? The <10 you see on social media or the thousands you don't see that are barely reported.

    Jun.09.2020 at 7:05 am
  10. Lynet

    GCU this statement is weak and lukewarm; it is full of idle words. The lamb of God suffered for a multi ethnic bride that is ONE. Where is your solidarity for those who suffer and are oppressed? Not only in words, but in deeds. What are you doing to show that you stand with those who are marginalized, how are you affecting societal change as you mentioned? Are you training your staff on implicit bias, are you offering mental health services to address the trauma of violence, active and microaggressions, on your campus? Are you making charitable donations to organizations that fight systemic racism? Why aren’t you speaking up firmly against social injustice? GCU the gospel motivates the church to DO righteousness and justice.

    Jun.09.2020 at 7:10 pm
  11. Carol

    Recent alum. Not impressed

    Jun.10.2020 at 4:10 pm
  12. Patricia Bates

    This statement is insulting to the black people. All the pride I had in being a student of GCU went down the drain. There is no call to action, no empathy for the black students or professors and no resource provided for those affected who may need to talk about the situation. Really disappointing!

    Jun.21.2020 at 5:51 pm
  13. Leslie

    GCU thank you for reiterating that the Love of God and loving your neighbor as self is the path to peace and unity. Standing on the foundation of that love is so essential; knowing all people are unique with a special purpose. It is important to remember violence is not fruitful and does not effect positive change – societal or individual change, but rather incites hatred and continued devastation. I appreciate the multi-cultural curriculum available at GCU to enhance awareness about bias (implicit and explicit) providing tools to support positive collaborative change within society. Thank you for continuing the message of God’s Word, love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. Blessings to all.

    Jul.23.2020 at 12:49 pm
  14. Christopher Bossano

    I think as long as humans can “see” the superficial differences of skin color, they will react accordingly. If we were all color blind it would be a different world.

    Aug.23.2020 at 7:50 am
  15. Niccole

    Maybe the school wanted to remain distant from politics all together because political matters always gets someone, somewhere angry, and these days this anger can be extreme. It seems as though BLM is becoming more of a political movement. Harassing people, burning American flags and Bibles with a Christian’s life lost in Portland also. I don’t think that anyone should not accept the blessing of becoming a graduate of GCU no matter who they are. Its not as if they are not acknowledging the horror of Floyd and their statement is correct in saying that we should ‘Love God with all of heart’ and to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’, and in order to do this we must let go of the distractions of this World as we love each other as Christ would. Just because one doesn’t agree to represent a political movement, it doesn’t mean that they do not have love for you. Please do not place me on a side because I am not taking one. I’m angry too. The plan of this World is to make us chose a side, and tear us apart.

    Sep.03.2020 at 2:56 am
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