As our mission states, “[a] Union education develops practices of mind and body that foster intellectual and academic excellence, social justice, and compassionate wisdom.” Fulfillment of such a grand vision mandates an unshakable and compassionate commitment to diversity in its many forms, as well as to the inclusion, welcome, and support of individuals and ideas from all groups that encompass the various characteristics of persons that comprise our learning community. Indeed, we cannot achieve social justice without this enduring commitment.
We recognize that our mission is best fulfilled when we notice and embrace diversity across all social identities (race, class, gender, sex, ability, faith/belief, sexual orientation, age and all of the dimensions of identity that live within us), and we cherish the fact that each member of our community brings a unique collection of identities and experiences that contributes to our collective dialogue. We believe that a rich diversity of people and the many points of view they bring serve to enhance the quality of the educational, teaching and employment experience at Union.
We strive to cultivate equity as a value and a practice, endeavoring to have full expression of those values in our organizational and institutional culture, norms and behaviors. And we are absolutely committed to creating a place at Union where everyone feels welcomed, supported, and equipped to succeed, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds. We strive to acknowledge, value, and celebrate the diversity of our students, faculty and staff and utilize the tools of innovative strategic planning, leadership, and communication to achieve our goals of social justice and inclusion.
We are not naïve enough to believe that in creating a diverse and equitable community, Union will be conflict-free. Misunderstandings, disagreements, and mistakes of varying severity are inescapable. But the seminary experience is not only about comfort and support; it is also about living into and learning together from the discomfort and challenge that is essential to growth and education and to authentic diversity and inclusion. And so we invite the members of the community to engage with difference in a spirit of inquiry, integrity, and courage. No short cuts exist for this work of harnessing the power of difference and creating equity. It is soulful work, and there is no way around — only through – together. We seek to work together toward this diverse and equitable community, with compassion and civility – and ultimately creating a community that is safe and healthy.
The kind of diversity and inclusion that we want to pursue at Union is intrinsic to the kind of students we take pride in admitting and graduating from this institution; students responsive to the needs of God’s diverse creation – students who are prepared make a difference wherever and with whomever they serve.