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Entrance to Taylor University

An Open Letter from Taylor University’s Interim President Dr. Paige Comstock Cunningham

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Taylor University Entrance Wall

Taylor Community,

These are sobering days for our nation, our churches, and for Taylor, even as we begin our new fiscal year expectant with hope. I am deeply concerned for all people of color, and most especially for those within our own community. Responses of lament and grief are appropriate and needed.

Along with these heartfelt postures, I also want you to be aware of the proactive ways Taylor is leaning into how to live out our Multicultural Philosophy, better and together. As priority one, we seek to reassure our students and their families of our support and the ways we can, together with them, make our campus a safe and welcoming place.  

Today, in a show of unity, Greg Dyson, Vice President of Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations, Jeff Wallace, our Chief of Police, and I wrote to our students. We shared our broken hearts. We let our students of color know we love and stand with them in solidarity. And we affirmed our fervent commitment, stated clearly in our Multicultural Philosophy, to be “a welcoming place where we show respect and love for all people…and to honor one another and celebrate our diverse ethnic, racial, cultural, socio-economic, and national backgrounds in all dimensions of our life together.”

Taylor has many students who come from urban communities, led by our more than 50 Act Six scholars. These exceptional young people intend to invest in their own communities as servant-leaders. Just one week ago, we honored the graduation of our first 4-year cohort, and hope to celebrate with them in person this August. Generous Taylor supporters made it possible for these women and men to be “fully equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:17), investing not only their resources, but also their friendship.

Through these important personal connections, I’ve been made aware that many of our urban students are living in great uncertainty and fear for their personal safety. Other students are subjected to intensifying oppression because they speak out against injustice, whether personal, institutional, or pervasive. 

Please join with me in prayer. I pray that I would have “a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart that you, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). I pray that God will deal with those who “deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of [His] people” (Isa 10:2). I pray that our students and families would not feel alone, isolated, or forgotten (Isa 49:15-16). And I pray that Jesus, who is our peace and True Reconciliation, would break down all walls of division among us, down to the last brick (Eph 2:14).

Today is a time of lament, of sorrow, of “weeping with those who weep, and mourning with those who mourn” (Rom 12:15). Tomorrow—God’s appointed tomorrowwill come, and in that day, may God turn our mourning into dancing, and clothe us with gladness (Ps 30:11). 

Until that day, my friends, we pray and grieve. Together.

Soberly, faithfully, and together,