Advancing the Work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the GTU

Berkeley, CA - The Graduate Theological Union's co-chairs of the Select Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Shawna Hamilton (GTU Board of Trustees) and Kristin Stoneking (PhD Candidate) have released a letter on October 28, 2020 to the GTU community on their progress. 

To even more fully live out the GTU's mission to foster the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion both on campus, and as a model for the wider world, the Select Committee held its first meetings this month to begin establishing guidance in the processes, practices, and policies that will help foster an inclusive culture and diverse environment at the GTU.

While the Board’s goal of establishing the Select Committee has been an enduring priority, events of the past year have further highlighted the critical nature of its work. From the inequities exposed by the disproportionately felt impacts of COVID-19, to renewed calls for justice as a result of the killing of George Floyd, to feedback shared by faculty, students, and staff in a series of town halls and listening sessions held on campus last year, the Select Committee is poised to take clear and decisive steps informed by these events as it charts a course for the GTU.

Among these steps, the Select Committee is partnering with Jennifer Brown Consulting and Senior Consultant La Mikia Castillo, a leading expert who has deep roots at the intersection of higher education, faith-based organizing, and equity and inclusion initiatives. Together with Ms. Castillo, the Select Committee is working to develop opportunities for the GTU community to provide input on its objectives and scope, as well as inform the experience of DEI at the GTU. 

To that end, next month the Select Committee will invite community members to participate in a survey addressing such matters as the meaning and value of DEI, experiences of inclusion and bias at the GTU, and reflections on the GTU’s encouragement of a culture that nurtures, welcomes, and supports authenticity in expressions of identity. Feedback will be analyzed through a number of lenses, including race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, faith tradition, and affiliation to the GTU. The insights surfaced by the survey will provide a vital knowledge base that feeds directly into the Select Committee’s strategic recommendations to the Board as it examines issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the GTU.

As the vital work of the Select Committee continues to unfold, it aims to keep the GTU community abreast of developments. They are open to your thoughts and feedback.