Diversity & Inclusion
We celebrate diversity as an expression of God’s creativity and aim to build a diverse, Christ centered community.
In our dedication to Christian discipleship and in obedience to the biblical mandate for diversity that leads to unity (Joel 2:28-29//Acts 2; Gal 3:6-29; 1 Cor 12; Rev 7:9), being guided by the institutional mission of Life Pacific University and the four cardinal doctrines of the Foursquare Church, and committed to the diverse voices of our community, we at LPU strive to be a communal witness of God’s plan of redemption for all creation as we live, learn, and labor together in love for inclusion, justice, and reconciliation. Life Pacific University is a Christian University fully committed to honoring and celebrating the Imago Dei—the image of God (Genesis 1:26) in each student, faculty, and staff member. We celebrate diversity as an expression of God’s creativity and aim to build a diverse, Christ centered community that fully engages students in the transformative educational process that prepares them to be leaders in the Church, the workplace, and the world.
LIFE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY DIVERSITY FRAMEWORK
In response to increasing concerns about changing institutional demographics, political movements, gender identity issues, social unrest and campus incidents that raise awareness of the need for more Bible based diversity and inclusion initiatives. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion created a framework that is shaped by Life Pacific University’s core values. The Framework is designed to nurture, promote, and understand diversity and reconciliation from a Christian worldview.
The Life Pacific Diversity Framework asserts that due to the fall of mankind, the problem of racism is rooted in sin. Racism and other injustices are spiritual problems that require spiritual and practical solutions. The model points out that authentic racial reconciliation can be achieved through the power and transformation of one’s heart and mind through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This model acknowledges that racism and inequalities are evident at both the macro and micro levels of society and a multilayered strategy, spiritual and practical is necessary to alleviate some of the impacts of historical injustices that still impact some minorities. A strong component of this model is its emphasis on God’s grace and willingness to provide forgiveness for repentant sinners according to John 3:18 and judgment of those who do not obey the gospel message according to 2 Thessalonians 1:8. Judgment and ultimate justice belong to God. The responsibility of the believer is growing in the grace, knowledge, and understanding of Jesus Christ while obeying his commandments, which can be summed up with love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor (Luke 10:27).
Primary Diversity Rationale
- Build a community of reconciliation
- Help students understand diversity, multiculturalism, and justice from a Biblical worldview
- Develop intercultural skills
- Broaden attitudes to appreciate the complexity of a diverse world
- Prepare students to cooperate and compete in a multicultural and global workplace
External Facing Framework: Gospel Focused, Disciple Making, and Mission Engaged
Our strategy is proactive and gospel focused. We aim at creating equitable systems of recruitment and support for underrepresented students, faculty, and staff while focusing on discipleship, spiritual formation, and fulfillment of the Great Commission. We believe that the gospel emphasizes freedom for all who trust in Christ. We are reconciling with God and at the same time reconciling with each other.
- God has given Christians the “ministry of reconciliation.”
- We do the work of reconciliation by helping people to be in right relationship with God and each other.
- The gospel is the spiritual reign of Jesus Christ in the hearts of believers.
- The gospel proclaims good news to the poor, the binding up of broken hearts, freedom for captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners (Isaiah 61)
We aim to build a community of reconciliation by speaking the truth in love, even if that truth comes at the price of discomfort or pain. We realize that racism, hatred, ethnocentrism, and partiality are sins that are contrary to our Christian values and worldview.
Our goal is to provide opportunities for students to to engage in meaningful, educational cultural experiences throughout their LPU journey. We have a three-fold approach to helping students develop cultural competency:
Cultural education programs allow students to acquire and experience critical knowledge needed to fully understand and focus on the history, practices and infrastructure of various cultures via lectures, panels, book clubs, and field-trips.
These social programs include music and arts performances, entertainment and other multi-ethnic social festivals and social gatherings.
Cultural Development programs address the holistic development of LPU students, with particular emphasis on discipleship, mentorship, coaching, and professional development. They also make important contributions to student understanding, connectedness and ethos toward a variety of personal cultures and communities.
The gospel has brought us the tools and moral power needed to bring positive changes to the world. At Life Pacific University, we inform our students about social injustice, and at the same time prepare them to have a positive impact on the church, the workplace and the world through the ministry of reconciliation. Our students are equipped through lectures, seminars, internships, mentorships, missions, and outreach opportunities.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
On June 5, 2020, LPU President Angie Richey & the Board of Trustees released a letter to the LPU community in response to recent incidents of unjustifiable violence resulting in the deaths of black men and women and what this has stirred up in our community. Click here to read the letter.
At Life Pacific University, we acknowledge that the Kingdom of God is beautifully diverse, representing people of all nations and cultures. Our campus reflects the diversity of our broader community in many ways. LPU is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution. Half of our students are Hispanic, and nearly 60% are students of color. Additionally, 46% of staff and 50% of full-time faculty are people of color. LPU’s community is diverse and we are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive, and equitable campus for all of our students, staff, and faculty. Our Diversity Coordinator & Diversity Committee work together to make an inclusive campus by overseeing issues and initiatives related to diversity and inclusion. On this page, you will find information regarding upcoming plans, current progress, and resources on how you can get involved.
Special thanks to LPU’s Diversity committee, staff, faculty, and alumni who have dedicated their time and heart to this important work and laid the foundation for the future. While progress has been made, institutional change can be slow. We have accelerated change efforts as an institutional commitment and will walk this out with humility and action.
Life Pacific University aligns with the gospel of Jesus and stands with the Foursquare Church against racism of any kind.
Immediate Action for Diversity & Inclusion
Update as of September 10, 2020
The recent incidents in the news of unjustifiable violence towards black men and women have grieved our university deeply. As our community responds to these events, we have heard the voices of students, alumni, staff, and faculty who themselves have experienced the pain of systematic racism and injustice in the LPU community. We lament and repent for ways known and unknown that we have contributed to the hurt and injustice members of our community have experienced. Moving forward, we are intent on bringing change. LPU has been working on diversity and inclusion initiatives for several years, but now more than ever, we must accelerate major action. The following are immediate steps that will be taken:
- Immediately reprioritizing the hiring of full-time Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
This person will serve as the institution’s chief diversity officer, serving on the Administrative Council. This position was planned for previously but put on hold. The President, with the support of the Board of Trustees, has decided to fulfill this plan by reopening this position immediately and accelerating a hire. We are committed to a thorough search process but intend to select a candidate by the end of the fall semester 2020. Update: A Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was hired and announced on July 27, 2020.
- The Office of Advancement has launched a new scholarship fund for students of color.
The university has various scholarships dedicated for students of color. These are awarded annually but only benefit a few students due to limited funds. We will be seeking donors who can contribute to this fund and help make a difference in the lives of students. If you are interested in donating, please click here. For students interested in applying for this scholarship, the scholarship application will be published in the fall semester.
- This August, all full-time staff and faculty will complete diversity and inclusion training which will be required on an annual basis.
LPU routinely offers diversity related workshops, forums, and trainings for students, staff, and faculty. However, we recognize a need for campus-wide required training for staff and faculty to ensure a safe, inclusive, and equitable campus. Update: all staff and faculty have completed diversity training and an annual training cycle has been implemented.
- This fall, all course evaluations will include questions regarding diversity & inclusion in the classroom.
Course evaluations are one of the most practical ways we collect feedback and make changes to courses, evaluate faculty, and more. This fall, all course evaluations will allow students to evaluate and provide feedback regarding their experience of diversity and inclusion in the classroom.
- This fall, we will be hosting an event for the LPU community for lamenting, repentance, and healing.
Our Student Development team will coordinate an event for students, alumni, staff, and faculty to come together to lament the injustices community members have experienced, to repent of any form of racism in our community, and seek reconciliation and healing with one another.
These are five very important steps we are implementing immediately. We asked students, staff, and faculty of color to speak into these action steps and will continue to ensure diverse voices are at the table in future decisions. As the university moves forward with Strategic Planning, the institutional Diversity Committee will be developing an updated multi-year Diversity Plan. For the sake of transparency and accountability, plans and progress will be updated on this webpage on a regular basis. Below you can read about some of the action completed in recent years.
Progress & Updates
2016 – An institutional Diversity Committee was formed, comprised of staff and faculty members reflective of the student population. This committee contributed to the institutions strategic plan and crafted specific initiatives to support diversity objectives.
2016 – An independent, 3rd party team conducted a university-wide diversity audit. The team included diversity officers from peer institutions who provided recommendation to the Diversity Committee, including the development of a written mission and theologically integrated statement on diversity and inclusion to be disseminated to the campus.
2016 – A Diversity Task Force was developed, and it convened a focus group of over 40 participants, including students, alumni, staff, and faculty. The taskforce produced a diversity statement that would help guide community thinking and actions in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Click here to view the diversity statement.
2016 – Revised Faculty hiring procedures to reduce bias in recruitment and hiring process. Hosted a faculty development seminar on hiring for diversity. (Current faculty diversity information below).
2015-2016 – Faculty development reading included books that addressed understanding and teaching for diversity.
2016-2017 – Biblical Studies program review led to a specific initiative to include curricular changes, considering and including diverse authors and perspectives in their courses. Many courses are now modified on an ongoing basis to incorporate lessons, assignments, and readings to include ethnically and culturally diverse perspectives.
2017-2018 – Diversity Committee worked to develop a diversity assessment tool for our degree programs.
2017 – Present – Designated a staff/faculty Diversity Coordinator. This was a stipend designation with dedicated hours to support the oversight and mobilization of diversity related initiatives.
2017 – Present – Campus chaplains have increased racial and gender diversity of chapel and conference speakers.
2018 – Present – Achieved hiring of people of color that represented 55% of all new hires, and we are committed to continually diversifying staff and faculty.
2018 – Per recommendations from the student body, the Multi-Cultural Student Organization became an official part of the Associated Student Government, with the creation of the Diversity Chair position.
2018 – Present – The Office of Student Development, including ASG, MSO, and ResLife, provide programing and events to celebrate and promote diversity and inclusion, including: Night Market, Stand Up, Tehillahs, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, Luna New Year celebration, Native American Heritage Month celebration, and Black History You Matter Museum. These are areas we are committed to continually developing and improving.
2018 – Diversity training became a required part of training for Student Development Staff, Resident Assistants, and Student Government.
2018 – Present – Various workshops, trainings, and forums regarding racial reconciliation have been offered for students, staff, and faculty.
2018 – Present – Orientation programming includes sessions to support the specific needs of 1st generation students and students of color.
2018 – Present – The Associated Student Government hosts monthly “Real Talk” open students forums. The Student Body President presents monthly report from student input to the university’s Administrative Council which oversees policy decisions.
2018 – LPU launched the Promise Scholarship, which is a scholarship dedicated to first-year students who come from a historically underrepresented population and/or are a 1st generation college student. An average of 12 recipients are selected for this scholarship each year.
2019 – Present – The Office of Student Development has organized and sponsored students to participate in the annual SCORR Conference.
2019 – Present – Key admissions events, including Preview, Admitted Students Day, and Priority Registration, include sessions designed to support 1st generation students and students of color.
2019 – Present – First-Year Seminar Course (required of all first-year students) partners with MSO and the Diversity Coordinator to facilitate a section of the course designed to help students develop multicultural awareness and competence.
2019 – The Board of Trustees appointed the university’s first female President, Angie Richey, since our founder, bringing gender diversity to executive leadership.
2019 – The most recent appointment to the Board of Trustees is Dr. Kneeland C. Brown, an African American educator with experience in issues pertaining to diversity and inclusion. We are committed to continuing to diversify the LPU Board of Trustees.
2020 – On the 2019-20 student services survey, 90% of students reported that “the LPU community provides opportunities for the voices of diverse ethnic and cultural perspectives to be heard” which is up 30% since 2016. Additionally, 97% agree that “the university values ethnic diversity” which is up 20% since 2016.
2020 – Dr. Daniel Ruarte was selected to serve as the Vice President of Academic Affairs, bringing ethnic diversity to executive leadership. Dr. Ruarte is a 1st-generation, Hispanic-American who has worked, ministered, and served Hispanic communities for decades. His doctoral research is regarding retention and success of Hispanic students.
2020 – Our goal is that staff and faculty demographics would reflect our student body. Below are current demographics.
- As of 2019-20, the make-up of our traditional undergraduate student body is 48% Hispanic / Latino, 31% White, 6% Multi-Ethnic, 4% Black / African American, 2% Asian, 1% American Indian or Alaskan Native, and 7% Unknown.
- As of 2019-20, the make-up of our faculty is 51% white, 19% Hispanic / Latino, 7% Black / African American, 6% Asian, and 17% Unknown.
- As of 2019-20, the make-up of our staff is 56% White, 23% Hispanic / Latino, 4% Black / African American, 4% Asian, 3% Multi-Ethnic, and 10% Unknown.
- The % of faculty of color has doubled in the last 6 years. At present, 50% of full-time faculty and 20% of adjunct faculty are people of color and we are committed to continue increasing faculty.
- At present, 46% of all staff are people of color, which reflects a 36% increase in the past 6 years.
2020 – Following the news of the shooting of Ahmed Arbery, the President and Board of Trustees made the decision to break the silence and, for the first time in recent history, use LPU’s influence to publicly stand against racial injustice. Read the letter here.
2020 – The President and the Board are placing Diversity & Inclusion initiatives within the board governance committee to provide oversite and hold the institution accountable to its commitments.
2020 – The Diversity Committee has been expanded to include a larger number of voices representing each area of the University.
2020 – The university hired Marcus Robinson as the first full-time Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to serve as the instituion’s chief diversity officer. Read more here.
2020 – New Faculty Rep, Professor Jeffery Bird, Appointed to Athletics
2020 – Diversity workshops for faculty were offered and all staff and faculty completed required Diversity Training.
2020 – Student leaders completed diveristy worshops and trainings.
2020 – New voting members were added to the University Administrative Council to provide greater representation
2020 – A new Diversity Plan was approved by the Diversity Committee (see here).
2020 – DDEI held meetings with Athletics, Faculty, Staff, and Students.
How to Report Discrimination
LPU maintains a “zero tolerance” policy against all unlawful discrimination and harassment. Any incident that may be regarded as discrimination should be reported immediately – either orally or in writing – to Human Resources.