Bethel University’s Statement Regarding Students for Life Chapter

Bethel Student Senate did not grant club status to a proposed Students for Life chapter on campus because it did not fully meet predefined criteria. The student group plans to revise and resubmit the proposal.

By Office of Marketing & Communications

November 22, 2019 | 1 p.m.

Earlier this month, students in the College of Arts & Sciences brought forward a proposal to the Bethel Student Senate to begin a chapter of the national organization Students for Life at Bethel. Ultimately, their proposal was not approved by the Bethel Student Senate. Several individuals within and outside of our community have asked questions or expressed concern about this decision. 

Student clubs and organizations must be approved by the Bethel Student Senate to be recognized as official and receive funding. The student senators evaluate each new group based on its alignment with Bethel’s mission, values, and Covenant for Life Together, as well as its ability to demonstrate that Bethel “would be better with this club or organization.” Through their debate, the senators concluded that the proposed club did not sufficiently meet the final criterion.

Some have asked why Bethel’s administration doesn’t intervene in situations like this. In fact, we do, but in a way that honors the living/learning community we foster at Bethel. Learning and personal development can be a messy process. We strive to create a safe space for our students to think critically, learn, explore, and navigate the results of their decisions. In this instance, our student life staff are working with student senators to explore the nuances of this decision. The students who proposed the club are also working to amend and resubmit their proposal.

We hold to the values outlined in our Covenant for Life Together to guide our discussions about sensitive issues of life and choice. We believe that life is sacred and all people have worth because they are created in God’s image. We do not support abortion and maintain an attitude of love, forgiveness, and healing toward those immediately involved in decisions regarding this issue. 

Our Christian formation and church relations, student life, and counseling and health services staff are available to community members in need of support and guidance. As a community, Bethel grieves the pain and loss that often accompany these situations and strives to be a place committed to honoring the life, worth, and dignity of all people.