Steps Remain Before Opinions Can Be Voiced Fearlessly

The hiring policy at EMU has been a large source of contention for many students, faculty, and years.

However, in recent developments there seems to be a genuine trend towards amending the outdated practices that dictate the types of relationships that EMU employees can hold.

There has a been a resolve passed by the Board of Trustees to hold a six-month listening process. This indicates that the democratic process is not dead, despite the alternative models of leadership that Mennonites (and by extension their schools) claim to adhere to.

This resolution to conscientiously invite and listen to all voices who wish to be heard about this matter that is so pertinent to both this campus and the nation, speaks to progress in the direction of being “open and inclusive,” and, “diverse and welcoming.” All of these are values that this community claims to hold dear.

As Loren Swartzendruber said, “Unilateral decision-making leads to broken relationships and rogue actions. Collaborative decision-making means that a community is functioning well. This board’s decision and this process will, I think, show how well our community functions,” and I heartily agree with him. While there is always room for dissent in any arena, and it is certainly indicative of a healthy process to make room for divergent opinions, the pragmatic actions of the board to welcome all of the voices in this matter are a wonderful step.

One has to wonder how those facilitating the listening process will ensure, however, that every voice will be heard. Given the history of EMU and the institution’s exclusion of LGBTQ professionals, there seem to be many steps yet to be taken to provide a safe space where every opinion can be voiced without fear of negative repercussions of any form.

-Rehana Franklin, Feature Editor


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