President Kevin J Worthen announced today the formation of a new Office of Belonging at Brigham Young University led by a vice-president level official who will be a member of the President’s Council.
The new office will focus on helping campus members achieve the community of belonging outlined in a newly created statement on belonging. The office will focus primarily on coordinating and enhancing belonging services and efforts on campus.
The announcement of the new Office of Belonging follows an in-depth report from BYU’s Committee on Race, Equity and Belonging (CoREB), completed in February.
President Worthen expressed appreciation to the members of CoREB who gave so much of “their time, their talents and their hearts” in responding to the joint call of President Russell M. Nelson and leaders of the NAACP for “educational leaders … to review processes, laws, and organizational attitudes regarding racism and root them out once and for all.”
President Worthen described how the President’s Council has “carefully and thoroughly” considered this information.
“We determined that a necessary first step was to establish a framework within which — and by which — we would evaluate the various recommendations,” Worthen said. “The framework would not only provide guiding principles for evaluating the recommendations and measuring our progress, but also set forth a vision of our end goal — what we hoped our campus community would become.”
President Worthen continued that the resulting statement on belonging “will provide the constitution, if you will, for our efforts. It is derived from, and grounded in, gospel concepts and insights, including foundational scriptural truths. It will provide guiding principles for evaluating and implementing the recommendations provided by the Committee on Race, Equity and Belonging. But it will also be the guide for addressing the needs of all marginalized individuals on campus.”
THE STATEMENT ON BELONGING
We are united by our common primary identity as children of God (Acts 17:29; Psalm 82:6) and our commitment to the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ (BYU Mission Statement). We strive to create a community of belonging composed of students, faculty, and staff whose hearts are knit together in love (Mosiah 18:21) where:
- All relationships reflect devout love of God and a loving, genuine concern for the welfare of our neighbor (BYU Mission Statement);
- We value and embrace the variety of individual characteristics, life experiences and circumstances, perspectives, talents, and gifts of each member of the community and the richness and strength they bring to our community (1 Corinthians 12:12–27);
- Our interactions create and support an environment of belonging (Ephesians 2:19); and
- The full realization of each student’s divine potential is our central focus (BYU Mission Statement).
Worthen emphasized that the Office of Belonging will not only be core to BYU’s efforts to root out racism, but also to combat “prejudice of any kind, including that based on race, ethnicity, nationality, tribe, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic status, religious belief and sexual orientation.”
Further details about the Office of Belonging and the appointment of a new vice president will be forthcoming.