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ELCA Network of Colleges and Universities condemn bigotry, hatred targeted at Bethany College president, community

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ELCA logo
September 20, 2016
By Kari Plog '11
PLU Marketing & Communications

TACOMA, WASH. (Sept. 20, 2016)- Member institutions of the ELCA Network of Colleges and Universities, including Pacific Lutheran University, released a statement Tuesday condemning hateful messages and phone threats directed at a Kansas university and its president.

“The 26 member institutions of the ELCA Network of Colleges and Universities condemn the racist attacks and threats of violence made against the president and members of the Bethany College community,” the statement reads. “Such behavior is antithetical to both Christian and American values. All people of good will should stand with us against the racism, bigotry and hatred that is at the root of these recent attacks.”

The chalk messages appeared this month on the campus of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. President William Jones posted to Facebook about the incident on Friday. He said the messages are “disgusting and are completely contrary to our core values and intellectual identity.”

Jones also said he received a call from a man claiming responsibility for the messages along with others who claim to be associated with a hate group.

He stated that “the chalk messages were written in response to the makeup of my family (I have two adopted, biracial children), to some of the things that have been written and posted online and in the press about my work at the college, and in response to the students of color that Bethany College is recruiting,” Jones wrote.

Jones called for the Bethany College community and everyone beyond his campus borders to speak out and combat messages of bigotry.

“Please challenge racism wherever you encounter it. Hurtful, racist actions are not ‘activism,'” he wrote. “Hate language is not blunt talk. Get to know people of other races and cultures. Think about what you post or share online or the jokes you tolerate. Use your imagination to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, kicks or sandals. Do the simple thing and treat all people the way you want to be treated.”