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Diversity at Milligan


Commitment to All People

“As members of the Milligan University community and in faithfulness to the teaching of Scripture, we commit ourselves to honoring and broadening the diversity of our community and to treating every person with respect, dignity, and love. By reflecting the diversity of God’s kingdom, the University bears witness to that kingdom and equips students to serve in a diverse and interdependent world.” 1

Diversity at Milligan

Milligan University believes that diversity in our student body, faculty, and staff, whether by race, color, ethnicity, disability, multicultural background, sex, or age, is important for us to fulfill our primary mission: to provide a quality education where men and women are prepared as servant-leaders. We believe that:

  • Diversity enriches the educational experience.

    We learn from those whose experiences, beliefs, and perspectives are different from our own, and these lessons can be taught best in a richly diverse intellectual and social environment.

  • Diversity strengthens communities and the workplace.

    Education within a diverse setting prepares students to become good citizens in an increasingly complex, pluralistic society; it fosters mutual respect and teamwork; and it helps build communities whose members are judged by the quality of their character and their contributions.2

  • Diversity promotes personal growth and a healthy society.

    Diversity challenges stereotyped preconceptions; it encourages critical thinking; and it helps students learn to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds.

  • Diversity reflects God’s kingdom.

    The University’s view on diversity is shaped by its Christian faith. The Gospel’s call is always to move beyond our culture-imposed, self-imposed boundaries and to understand that people whom we may have previously labeled “others” are created in God’s image.3

Goals

  • foster a commitment to diversity
  • create a welcoming University environment
  • provide curricular and co‐curricular strategies that help all students develop intercultural competencies
  • recruit and retain a diverse student body and workforce
  • prepare students to engage a diverse world in a Christ-like manner

Initiatives

Because of these beliefs and goals, Milligan University desires to reach out and make a concerted effort to build a healthy and diverse learning environment appropriate to our mission. The University relies on academic programs, educational services, and scholarships to recruit and retain a diverse student body. Current initiatives include:

  • The Betty Goah Scholars Program
  • Multicultural Engagement Office
  • MultiEthnic Resource Team (MERT)
  • Multicultural Affairs Student Organization
    • The mission of the Multicultural Affairs Student Organization is to make Milligan a genuinely multicultural Christian community. To be such a community is to affirm the worth of all human beings and to affirm the value and significance of the human cultures and communities which have developed over the centuries. It is to affirm a biblical version of the Kingdom of God, in which people from “every tribe and language and people and nation” are gathered (Rev. 5:9). It is also to acknowledge the extent to which racism, intolerance, and other sins have contributed, and continue to contribute to the failure of this endeavor — even within our own Milligan community.
  • Ethnic Studies requirement (see the General Education Requirements)
  • Diversity Advisory Committee
    • This is a group of community and civic leaders who advise and share insight on the direction, process, and efforts to bring diversity to Milligan University.

1 Milligan University Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Milligan University Catalog.
2 “On the importance of diversity in higher education.” Farleigh Dickinson University.
3 Higgins, Susan, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Missions, Milligan University.

Statements & Response

June 29, 2020

Dear Milligan community,

We are thankful for the community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who care deeply about Milligan and how we can better respond to racial tensions and foster racial reconciliation. The petition circulating on social media promoting this important work is an example of that concern. The MultiEthnic Resource Team (MERT) identified many of the strategies recommended in the petition, and our summer work group that I announced on June 19 is working on specific actions that move us closer to being a better institution as quickly as possible.

Many of these items will be addressed in an upcoming progress report. You can find our recent statements explaining our commitment and efforts to intensify our work in this area at www.milligan.edu/diversity. We encourage you to review and share this information.

We invite ideas and feedback to be submitted to Lee Harrison, who leads this work. We approach this work with a desire for open and supportive dialogue as we learn, listen, and act.

Thank you,
Bill Greer, President

JUNE 19, 2020

Dear Milligan Community,

As we previously shared, we believe that Milligan can do better to equip our community to listen to others, to empathize, to walk with, and to stand up, and to speak up for those whose voices are often ignored.

Below is a message from our Goah Scholars Program that Milligan stands behind. I encourage you to read it and join in praying for peace and equality in our nation and on our campus. We also ask you to join us in action.

This past year, our Multi-Ethnic Resource Team (MERT) of faculty, staff, and students worked on recommendations for ways Milligan can do better. While this group’s work was halted by the closing of campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our commitment to these efforts is not halted.

We have tasked a work group to assist the administration this summer in developing an action plan for specific strategies and tactics that help Milligan in our work of promoting justice, reconciliation, understanding, and most of all, love for one another (read about our institutional goals at www.milligan.edu/diversity). This group includes:

  • Lee Harrison, VP for Marketing & Enrollment
  • Garland Young, VP for Academic Affairs
  • Mark Fox, VP for Athletics and Student Development
  • Gwen Ellis, Director of Multicultural Engagement
  • Rich Aubrey, Campus Minister
  • Ron Kastens, Director of Ministry Leadership Program
  • Tony Jones, Dean of Students
  • Rebecca Sapp, Director of the MS in Counseling Program; Director of Counseling Center

This group will start by reviewing the recommendations from the Multi-Ethnic Resource Team (MERT) and developing an action plan that can be implemented as quickly and as judicially as possible. This group will seek the input and feedback from our students, faculty, and staff along the way.

This work requires tenacity and collaboration. As our Goah Scholars remind us below, please join us in our commitment to listen, learn, and serve.

President Greer

……………

Milligan University
Goah Scholars Diversity Program

On behalf of the Goah Scholars Diversity Program, we feel we must address the current racial tensions in our country.  As Goah Scholars, one of our roles is to be cultural ambassadors while also becoming servant-leaders to our fellow students and community.

As we all know it has been a season of great loss and hardship. Now more than ever it is apparent that we must stand with the Black community. We want to empower the voices of our minority students, especially those that have been oppressed.

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other innocent African Americans has created a movement all across the United States, and the Goah Scholars will not remain silent on this issue. We see the struggle that the Black community faces every day, and although we have not all experienced this racism personally, we will not be bystanders.

We are committed to making Milligan University a place where all voices are heard and valued regardless of skin color. As Goah Scholars, it is our joy to stand with the Black community in this fight for justice and equality.

In Galatians 3:28, we are reminded “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus,” and we must love one another just as He has loved us.

We will continue to stand with the Black community even if our nation pushes this issue aside, and it no longer appears in the headlines.  We call on the rest of the Milligan community to rally behind them as well.  As this injustice continues, we pray for peace and equality in our nation and on our campus.

Our support does not just end on Milligan’s campus, but extends internationally to all Milligan students worldwide. As prayers and vigils are important in helping unite the spirit of our fellow Americans in pain, we also want to encourage everyone to put that prayer into a form of action and charity.

As you return to campus, please join us in our commitment to listen, learn and serve.  Please support our Goah-sponsored events as we strive for a more unified campus environment.  If there are other specific ways you would like to see Milligan make a change or show support, please feel free to email us or contact us through social media.

Thank you.

Alexandra Reynoso, President, areynoso@my.milligan.edu
Aamir Bullitt, Vice President, adbullitt@my.milligan.edu
Mallory Fehl, Junior Class, mafehl@my.milligan.edu

JUNE 5, 2020

Dear Milligan community,

This has been a week of reflection and sorrow for the tragic injustices that black people and all people of color continue to face. As Milligan faculty, staff, and students gathered in prayer Sunday evening on the Mary Sword Commons, we prayed that Milligan can do better to equip our community to listen to others, to empathize, to walk with, and to stand up and speak up for those whose voices are often ignored.

I want to be very clear where Milligan stands on racism. It is evil and it will not be tolerated. We recommit ourselves as an institution to our Commitment to All People statement that says, “In faithfulness to the teaching of Scripture, we commit ourselves to honoring and broadening the diversity of our community and to treating every person with respect, dignity, and love. By reflecting the diversity of God’s kingdom, the University bears witness to that kingdom and equips students to serve in a diverse and interdependent world.”

Our Multi-Ethnic Resource Team of faculty, staff, and students began working this past academic year to identify ways that Milligan can better foster a commitment to diversity; create a welcoming university environment; provide training, discussions, and strategies to help faculty, staff, and students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of intercultural competence; better recruit and retain a diverse student body and workforce; and ultimately prepare students to engage a diverse world in a Christ-like manner. In the coming months, we will continue to identify specific actions to step into the problem of racial injustice to work for change. May Milligan University influence the world in bigger ways that bring justice, reconciliation, understanding, and most of all, love for one another.

Today, I call on our community to continue to pray and act. Pray for an end to racism. Pray for justice, reconciliation, and peace. Let us all recommit ourselves to create an environment of work, study, and life where all people of all tribes who have been created by the same God in His image feel loved and accepted.

President Greer

MAY 31, 2020

Dear Milligan community,

Today is the last day our beloved institution will be known as Milligan College.  Tomorrow, we begin a new era as Milligan University.

Milligan College was established in 1866, following the turbulence of the Civil War.  Over 150 years later, our transition to Milligan University takes place at a time when, sadly, there are still obvious racial tensions in our nation and world.

May Milligan College’s last day be one in which we continue to pray for unity and peace, grateful for what little we have been able to do, while acknowledging that it is not enough.  And may Milligan University’s first day be one in which we resolve to influence the world in bigger ways that bring justice, reconciliation, understanding, and most of all, love for one another.

We wish to invite you to join us at 6:00pm this evening on campus at the Mary Sword Commons to pray for justice, reconciliation, and peace.  Rich Aubrey, our Campus Minister, and Gwen Ellis, Director of Multicultural Engagement, will lead us in prayer together.  Since the event will be held outside, we anticipate plenty of room for adequate social distancing.

If you can’t join us in person, the event will be streamed on Milligan’s facebook page so you can participate from wherever you are.

Blessings to you and to all members of our community,

Bill Greer

MultiEthnic Resource Team

Multiethnic Resource Team (MERT) – 2019-20

Purpose: Serve as a source of direction and guidance regarding ethnic diversity discussions, collaborative programming, and support of campus events. The goal is to help all Milligan community members better understand and appreciate the diversity of the kingdom of God both in academic as well as extra-curricular settings.

The Multiethnic Resource Team (MERT) was appointed in Fall 2019 to discuss and make recommendations on how Milligan can best fulfill the following goals:

  • foster a commitment to diversity
  • create a welcoming college environment
  • provide opportunities and strategies that help all students, faculty, and staff develop intercultural competencies
  • prepare students to engage a diverse world in a Christ-like manner
  • recruit and retain a diverse student body and workforce

Subgroups for each of these goals met regularly throughout the year to review current practices, current Milligan data, best practices at peer/aspirant schools, literature and current guidance, and consider any needed primary research – inventories, surveys, interviews – and ultimately develop a list of strategies to recommend. Work was sidelined during the COVID-19 Pandemic that closed campus, but President Greer appointed a task force in June 2020 to develop an action plan based on the MERT recommendations.

MERT Team – 2019-20

Faculty:

  • Michael Blouin – School of Arts & Humanities
  • Kip Elolia – School of Bible & Ministry
  • Phil Kenneson – School of Bible & Ministry
  • Jason Bembry – School of Bible & Ministry
  • Namyoun Choi – Greene School of Business & Technology
  • Ke Bao – Greene School of Business & Technology
  • John Paul Abner – School of Sciences & Allied Health
  • Aimee DePriest – School of Sciences & Allied Health
  • Amy Edmonds – School of Social Sciences & Education
  • Lori Mills – School of Social Sciences & Education

Staff:

  • Gwen Ellis, Director of Multicultural Engagement
  • Theresa Garbe, Director of Alumni Relations & Development
  • Lee Harrison, VP for Marketing & Enrollment
  • Tony Jones, Dean of Students
  • Keila Lau-Lopez, Graphic Designer
  • Brad Wallace, Campus Minister

Students:

  • Cara Blanton, SGA Student Representative
  • Jenee Boston, SGA President
  • Mikayla Brama, Goah Scholars President
  • Luis de la Torre, International Student Representative
  • Janet Galante, ECS Student Representative

History

In 2007, ethnic minority students made up only 5% of the Milligan University student body.  By 2010, ethnic minority students made up 14% of the student body. The 2019-20 student body includes 12% U.S. minorities and 7% internationals for a total of 19% ethnic minorities.

This dramatic increase was no accident. It began in prayer and was energized by a deep commitment to the idea that diversity is God’s intention and desire, that Milligan University needed to take a proactive role in bringing about diversity, and that a multi-pronged approach would be necessary.

“We will be a strong, vibrant, and diverse Christian collegiate community” was part of the Long Range Plan approved by the Milligan University Board of Trustees. Strategic goals included creating a welcoming and diverse environment, increasing the level of cultural competency of all students, increasing multicultural classroom experiences, and increasing multicultural social and co-curricular experiences.

These goals translated into specific actions, under the direction of Vice President for Enrollment Management, Dr. Lee (Fierbaugh) Harrison. The president appointed a Multi-Ethnic Resource Team, including faculty, administrators, staff, and students. The University hired a Director of Diversity and established an Office of Diversity Services in 2007.

Milligan’s first Director of Diversity Services, Nathaniel Moultrie, had the vision and the ability to generate a great deal of local interest in Milligan’s diversity initiatives, and both he and then-president Don Jeanes met with local ministers and other community leaders from the African American community to seek their advice about how the University could best live out its commitment to diversity.

Milligan’s second director was Ernesto Villarreal, who served from 2010 to 2013. Dr. Pat Magness served at interim director from 2013 to 2014. Dr. Jeff Smith became director in the fall of 2014. In 2015, his title changed to Director of Multicultural Engagement and he worked with Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, Dr. Garland Young, to help the University realize its goals more fully. Faculty development, curricular development, increasing diversity of the faculty, facilitating greater multicultural understanding—all these remain important goals as the University continues to pursue a diverse community that provides a living picture of the Kingdom of God.

Rachel Owens served as Director of Multicultural Engagement for 2016-2019.

Gwen Ellis was named the Director of Multicultural Engagement in Summer 2019 and the office transitioned back to the area of Enrollment & Marketing under Dr. Lee Harrison, Vice President.

Nondiscrimination Notice

Milligan University Notice of Nondiscrimination

As members of the Milligan University community and in faithfulness to the teaching of Scripture, we commit ourselves to honoring and broadening the diversity of our community and to treating every person with respect, dignity, and love. By reflecting the diversity of God’s kingdom, the University bears witness to that kingdom and equips students to serve in a diverse and interdependent world.  In accordance with the Age Discrimination Act, Title IX, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Milligan University admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at Milligan. Milligan does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school administered programs.

Concerns relating to sex discrimination should be addressed to the University’s Title IX Coordinator:

Brent Nipper, Director of Property and Risk Management
PO Box 750
Little Hartland Welcome Center
Milligan, TN 37682
423.461.8740
wbnipper@milligan.edu
TitleIXCoordinator@milligan.edu

Questions about disability services and ADA compliance issues should be addressed to:

Heather Cramer, Director of Disability Services
P.O. Box 500
McMahan Student Center
Milligan, TN 37682
423.794.3088
DisabilityServices@milligan.edu