June 11, 2020
Last week, California Baptist University issued a statement regarding the death of George Floyd. Response to that statement makes it clear that CBU failed to adequately convey how seriously it takes this tragic event. For that, I sincerely apologize. After reading and carefully considering all comments made by current students and alumni in reply to the initial statement, I offer the following to clarify the University’s position regarding recent events as well as its concern for CBU students, employees, and alumni of color.
The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis revealed anew the horrible legacy of racism and injustice that too long has oppressed people of color in ways that many others, including myself, have been unable to comprehend or, worse, unwilling to acknowledge.
California Baptist University shares the horror and outrage over the death of Mr. Floyd and too many others resulting from police brutality against black Americans. CBU condemns such acts and the systemic failures in American society and institutions that disproportionately impact minorities. These must be eliminated.
Racism, inequality and injustice cannot be overlooked and allowed to continue. California Baptist University supports efforts to create a more just society. Long experience suggests that this will not be achieved quickly or easily. But that cannot be an excuse for inaction.
California Baptist University stands with and supports students, employees, and alumni of color who face the injustice of racism and commits to be a University that opposes racism while pursuing the advancement of justice, equality and opportunity for students and employees of color. To that end, I have directed that CBU establish a racial equality task force to explore ways that the University can address issues of racial injustice and create a culture of biblical justice on campus.
California Baptist University will not tolerate racial discrimination. Rather, we will recognize, celebrate and draw upon the wealth of racial diversity in the Lancer Nation to create community, enhance awareness and foster greater sensitivity and understanding. CBU will work to ensure that students and employees of color feel safe and know that they are respected, and that their concerns are heard.
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president emeritus of the Children’s Defense fund, famously said, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” That is an apt description of the outcomes California Baptist University seeks to instill in its students and employees and through them, to bring positive change in the communities they serve.
Inspired and compelled by current events and with sensitivity to God’s grace and guidance, I pledge that CBU will endeavor to listen, learn, and lean into purposeful change to eradicate the evils of racism, injustice and inequality.
Ronald L. Ellis, Ph.D.
California Baptist University