Dear Candler Community,
I write to commend the statement by Emory President Gregory Fenves on the recent Supreme Court ruling barring the use of race as a factor in college admissions. The statement is consistent with his long-standing leadership in addressing and removing structural impediments to justice and equality in higher education. As he states forthrightly, diversity is “integral to education” and “remains a bedrock value” at Emory University. I am glad for this strong affirmation of Emory’s values, and I hope you will take a few moments to read his message.
For generations Candler School of Theology faculty, staff, students, and alumni have promoted racial justice in education, church, and society. We will continue to do so. Harmful legacies of racial injustice remain entrenched in our nation from the centuries of slavery and colonial conquest that shaped so much of our history. At Candler, we have not always lived up to our highest aspirations, but we strive to acknowledge and examine the racism that pervades our society and the hurt that it causes. We seek to listen, research, and understand. We work to alleviate this suffering, promote redress, and eventually, restore relationship. We dare to dream of more just and joyful worlds. As one of our formal institutional commitments states, Candler seeks to “foster an intentionally diverse community of learning.” We stand by that commitment. We will continue to work towards it in every aspect of our life as an institution, even as we comply with the limitations that this court decision imposes.
As a school that educates Christian leaders, our faith guides us to understand diversity as a gift from God, equity as a moral requirement, and belonging as a fruit of the Spirit. As we prepare to observe the 4th of July—a holiday dedicated to the concept of freedom and justice for all—we renew our commitment to joining God’s work of seeking justice, moving toward reconciliation, and cultivating belonging, whenever and wherever we can.
Grace and peace,
Mary Lee Hardin Willard Dean
Professor of Christianity and World Politics
Candler School of Theology