Diverse cultures, one community
Multnomah University desires to be an educational institution where all students flourish and possess equal opportunity for success. We seek to treat all people with love, respect, dignity, and fairness. We affirm the uniqueness of each person in regard to age, race, nationality, gender, socio-economic status, ability, or faith denomination.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we all have a particular position in the Body of Christ–a place for our gifting, a place of great importance. As the Apostle Paul puts it, “In fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?” (1 Cor. 12:18-19). Our distinctiveness enhances the Body of Christ. Together, we weave a beautiful tapestry, honoring the richness of our God. For the Body to function as designed, each person fulfills a distinct role as a member of the Body, one for which they were created from the very beginning (Ps. 139:16).
Consistent with our core values, we aim to develop an intentionally diverse Christian academic community. We seek to realize our full potential for excellence in learning and serving. Diversity, of course, is not an end in itself; rather, it is a means to the lofty goal of cultivating a healthy educational environment. Diversity allows students, faculty, and staff to understand why people of various backgrounds interpret and apply the same information differently. Diversity encompasses inclusion and respect. It grows an appreciation for one another, moving beyond mere tolerance to celebrating our differences.
Diversity & Inclusive Development Department
Multnomah University employs a full-time Vice President of Diversity & Inclusive Development, Dr. Jessica Taylor The Vice President of Diversity & Inclusive Development (VPDID) reports directly to the President and serves on the President’s Council. The VPDID advises the President and the President’s Council on issues of diversity and serves as an integrating partner with campus leaders, students, faculty, staff, and various university committees. The VPDID proactively develops and implements initiatives, programs, and activities that educate about cultural competency and inclusion and promote accountability for members of the university community.
Spiritual Life, Student Counseling & Wellness, Veteran’s Resource Center, LINK, and Career Services at all serving under this departmental leadership. Each department serves the higher goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the context of holistic development of each student we serve.
Voices Scholarship Program
The Voices Scholarship is intended to develop students of color and their allies as leaders on the Multnomah University campus. This is accomplished by mentoring, providing leadership opportunities, and spreading awareness of diversity and inclusion efforts from student-driven platforms.
The Multicultural Center
The Multicultural Center exists to foster opportunities for underrepresented persons to feel a sense of belonging in the Multnomah University community and explore their authentic selves where safety, diversity, and God are honored.
The Multicultural Center is located at 615 NE 87th Ave. The center sits on the east edge of campus in the light green house (formerly known at the Teacher Ed House). The student entry is accessed from the heart of campus, through the back door. The house is open to students from Monday through Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
For more information about diversity and inclusive development at Multnomah University, please contact the VPDID, Dr. Jessica Taylor, in the Executive Wing of Sutcliffe Hall or at (503) 251-5355.
Why do we need a Multicultural Center?
Students can become increasingly isolated in their cultural, racial and religious identity as they come to college. Research shows spaces like the Multicultural Center help students develop their identity and relationships with others while increasing their sense of belonging and community. Though there are other places for students to be on campus, having a dedicated space in which students of color and students from different backgrounds can be their authentic selves is critical to their success and healthy integration at Multnomah University.
Who is the Multicultural Center designed to benefit most?
People of color and underrepresented groups of students as well as their allies are the groups this space is intended to serve. You ultimately decide if your experience at Multnomah is underrepresented and if you could benefit from the space.
ALL people are allowed to access the space, but people from the majority culture are encouraged to use discretion when using the Multicultural Center. This space is to be led, directed and influenced by students in need of this space, and so they ultimately decide if anyone is distracting from the purpose or intended atmosphere of the center. Also, it is important to know that students want ALL to feel welcome, and that includes majority culture persons who are understanding of their need for the space and in support of them expressing their authentic selves.
The Voices Scholarship
What is the Voices Scholarship?
The Voices Scholarship is intended to develop students of color and their allies — known as Voices Scholars — as leaders on the MU campus. This is accomplished by mentoring, providing leadership opportunities and spreading awareness of diversity and inclusion efforts from student-driven platforms.
What do the Voices Scholars do?
The Scholars will participate in diversity and inclusion initiatives, including events, workshops, and training sessions. They will also be giving and receiving peer mentoring to help them through their experience in a dominantly white institution. Each Scholar also takes a rotation weekly being available to serve other students in the Multicultural Center.
How do you apply for the Voices Scholarship?
The Voices Club exists to provide a space for openness, honesty and raw discussions in the context of identity, humanity, and racial and social justice. The club highlights issues of significance within today’s context and allows its members to be vulnerable and learn from one another in a gracious and understanding environment. The Voices Club supports the ongoing mission of multicultural engagement and unity at Multnomah University.
A typical Voices meeting focuses on a specific topic for the week. We alternate between watching culturally-centered media (TV shows, Ted Talks, music videos, spoken word and poetry) and hosting guest speakers. Discussions are held after each activity. Every meeting is meant to engage each club member and encourage everyone to truly have a voice.
The Voices club also serves as a place to unpack social and cultural events and current topics. “Unpacking” of trainings and diversity initiatives also happens in the context of the Voice Club, giving students a place to process and integrate their learning.
Mosaic Week is an annual, week-long series of events meant to spark critical thinking and dialogue around issues of diversity, inclusion, cultural identity and justice on the Multnomah University campus. We desire to stir conversations that promote equity, understanding and viewing diversity through a biblical lens.
National Association of Evangelicals Statement on Racism
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) recently shared a statement that we, as a university, support and embrace:
The NAE laments the recurring trauma experienced by African Americans. We condemn racism and the violent abuse of power, call for justice for victims and their families and exhort churches to combat attitudes and systems that perpetuate racism. We are grateful for law enforcement officers who honorably serve and protect our communities, and urge our members to uphold them in prayer. Christians believe that racism is an affront to the value of individuals created in God’s image and to the divinely designed diversity of redeemed humanity. This denial of personhood and belonging runs contrary to the peace and unity that God intended in the beginning and that the Bible depicts as our destiny.
Racism appears in beliefs or practices that distinguish or elevate one race over others. When accompanied and sustained by imbalances of power, prejudice moves beyond individual relationships to institutional practices. Such racial injustice is the systemic perpetuation of racism. Its existence has unfairly benefited some and burdened others simply due to the color of their skin and the cultural associations based upon perceptions of race.
No race or ethnicity is greater or more valuable than another. Evangelicals believe that the good news of Jesus Christ has the power to break down racial and ethnic barriers (Ephesians 2:14–18). Racism should not only be addressed after tragic events. Our communities of faith must pursue sustained efforts in this labor of love and justice.