Diversity at Bethel

At Bethel University, one of our core values is to be reconcilers. We are called to reflect the body of Christ in all its diversity—across genders, races, cultures, and socio-economic groups. We condemn all forms of oppression, passionately teaching and working for justice on our campus, in our community, and around the world.

Reconciliation At Work

The Bethel Antiracism and Reconciliation Commission (BARRC) guides the reconciliation efforts of the university. Under the leadership of Chief Diversity Officer Leon Rodrigues, BARRC is a catalyst for change, supporting a host of academic and service projects that build cultural competence:

  • We offer the only faith-based undergraduate major and minor in Reconciliation Studies. Led by professor Curtiss DeYoung—pre-eminent author and scholar of Christian reconciliation—students explore the biblical theology of reconciliation and how it applies to conflicts and issues facing today’s world.
  • Project Heita! South Africa recently completed its fourth summer immersion trip for Bethel faculty, staff, students, and community members. Participants learned from South African leaders of the reconciliation movement, visited apartheid and slavery museums, and volunteered in AIDS hospices and children's homes.
  • Through a partnership with the urban Frogtown/Summit-University (FSU) community of St. Paul, hundreds of Bethel students have participated in service learning projects such as literacy tutoring with disadvantaged youth. The College of Adult & Professional Studies also offers college courses at Bethel University’s FSU Community Partnership Office.
  • We are in the midst of hosting a five-year series of national academic conferences on the intersection of sociology and Christian reconciliation.

It Starts at Home

President Jay Barnes wants Bethel University to become synonymous with groundbreaking, meaningful work in reconciliation. But Bethel can lead in Christian reconciliation only if we first live up to this value.

Partnering with a number of student and faculty groups, President Barnes, Chief Diversity Officer Leon Rodrigues, and the deans of our intercultural and international programs are creating a richly representative and welcoming community of believers.

We have made significant strides in recent years—an expanded staff in the Office of Intercultural Programs and Services works extended hours to support students of color; new financial aid resources bring tuition within reach of most students; and the seminary programs in San Diego are broadly diverse. But there is still much important work ahead.

Reid Velo
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