In my previous communication, I announced that Northwest University would be “open for business” in the fall. I am happy to be able to share with you our plans for safely resuming our residential education. While it may be different from the typical college experience, we are committed to the success of all of our students as they continue to pursue the call that God has placed on their lives.
Today Northwest University observes Juneteenth together with all freedom-loving Americans. This holiday remembers that the Emancipation of enslaved African Americans took over two years to go into effect. As patriotic Americans, we believe freedom for all and equality under the law must never be deferred. As Christians, we believe the most complete freedom comes from the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
After the very recent extrajudicial killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others, the needless killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta punctuates the imperative for comprehensive judicial reform in America. Together with hundreds of millions of Americans, we are sick and tired of these killings, and we call on Congress and the White House to take the lead now in ensuring immediate equal justice under law for all Americans, especially African-Americans.
Last week offered the sad but hope-giving experience of attending the memorial service of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I went there to represent the people of Northwest University and to express our solidarity with victims of injustice and our commitment to creating a more beloved community in America. Usually travel entails speaking, but this pilgrimage offered me an opportunity to listen; to shut my mouth for just a little while and listen. And learn.
We recognize and deeply mourn the sense of insecurity and isolation these circumstances create for the persons of color in the Northwest University community—students, faculty and staff. We grieve their pain and repent for every way in which we as an institution have failed to provide a sense of safety, including but not limited to: our slowness to speak and act, racially insensitive classroom incidents, and a lack of opportunities for students of color to share their experiences and use their voices. We are deeply sorry.
As an institution, we are learning to do better when it comes to making our campus a safe and welcoming place for people of color. There are many ways that we need to grow, so we are committed to learning as much as we can. The list below includes resources that are helping us work towards lasting change on our campus. This list of resources will be updated regularly, and we invite you to learn, grow, and act with us.
In April, the Department of Education issued guidance on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as it related to emergency assistance for students as well as general support for higher education institutions. As part of the CARES Act funding was provided for college students who have experienced additional expenses due to the disruption of campus operations. Based on the guidance from the Department of Education the funds are to be given to those who are eligible for federal financial aid based on the FAFSA criteria, have the greatest financial need, and were not enrolled exclusively in online courses on March 13, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of our normal yearly rhythms, and that includes graduation season. This year, millions of seniors will finish their high school and college experiences without a graduation ceremony. While some might joke that they’re happy to not sit through another commencement, this is no doubt a difficult and disappointing situation. Here are a few ways to celebrate the accomplishment of graduating in the midst of everything going on: