Timeline of Recent Diversity Events at SPU

Dan Martin

“The very nature and person of Christ, his teaching and exemplary life as God’s son and his death and resurrection, provide for us the possibility of living as a community where God has ‘torn the veil’ by removing all divisions.”

— Dan Martin, SPU President


July 1

A diversity, equity, and inclusion Sharepoint site lock was launched to identify and mark progress related to various data points and reports. This is a password-protected site available only to SPU faculty, staff, and students.

May 6

A Faculty and Staff of Color Community Listening Forum was held in Upper Gwinn for those of the SPU community who have encountered racial and/or ethnic marginalization. The purpose of the forum was threefold:

  • to share and be heard equitably
  • to share in the ongoing work being done at SPU to address these challenges
  • to discuss the development of ideas for further improvements  

The session was a facilitated process in which experiences were shared with others who have had similar experiences. 

April 19

John Perkins, co-founder of SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development returns to campus for his annual lecture.

SPU unveils two rare paintings by African American artist Charles Ethan Porter. The paintings were donated to SPU by local couple William Sacherek and Liselotte Lamerdin in appreciation of the reconciliation work of SPU’s John Perkins Center.

April 13

Students select the 2016-17 ASSP Office Core, which includes Lola Sosanya (president), Mara Kramer (executive vice president), Nathan Bennett (vice president of finance), Shongi Motsi (vice president of ministries), Jess Sloan (vice president of intercultural affairs), and Bilen Yitbarek (vice president of campus activities). This is one of the most ethnically diverse officer cores in Seattle Pacific history.

April 12

What Does Reconciliation Mean?” During the annual Winifred E. Weter Faculty Award Lecture for Meritorious Scholarship, Associate Professor of Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry Michael Langford looks at reconciliation from a theological perspective.

April 1

Lecture on Epistemology With Expert in Multicultural Education.” The School of Education hosts a “Ways of Knowing” panel and discussion featuring Dr. Geneva Gay, an internationally known expert in multicultural education. Gay and several other scholars explore and reflect on ways we know (epistemology) and how that affects us as college educators and learners.

March 31

Workshop on Inclusivity in Learning Environments.” Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock, educational technologist and author of Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies, gives a workshop for SPU faculty and staff. Pacansky-Brock currently serves the California State University system as a specialist in innovative pedagogies, and is a nationally respected author and speaker on how classroom environments can promote inclusivity and diversity.

March 22

Two students with SPU’s Justice Coalition and President Dan Martin are interviewed for the KUOW-FM (94.9) public affairs program “The Record.”  

March 1

An all-campus forum for students, faculty, and staff is held to continue our discussions around racial reconciliation and diversity. Students with the group “Students for Change” and the SPU administration jointly plan and publicize the event, titled “A Necessary Conversation: Confronting Issues of Diversity and Accountability at SPU.” The Falcon reports on the event. 

February 26

President Martin sends the February Board of Trustees report to faculty and staff and includes an update and action plan on issues around racial diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

February 25

As part of the Library’s Creative Conversations series, Professor of Theology Kerry Dearborn reads from her recent book, Drinking from the Wells of New Creation: The Holy Spirit and the Imagination in Reconciliation

February 23

Seattle Pacific Seminary hosts a two-day conference titled “Racial Reconciliation and the Church.” The second guest speaker is Brenda Salter McNeil, SPU associate professor of reconciliation studies and author of several books, including Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities Into Unity, Wholeness and Justice (2016). The Falcon covers McNeil’s talk in chapel. 

February 18

SPU Justice Coalition launches its website. 

February 10

The Falcon reports on an online “SPU Unity” petition released by students, alumni, and community members around issues of a chief diversity office; more diversity training for faculty, staff, administrations, and student leaders; and faculty hiring. 

February 9

Seattle Pacific Seminary hosts a two-day conference, “Racial Reconciliation and the Church.” The first guest speaker is Soong-Chan Rah, professor, ordained minister, and author of several books, including Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times (2015). The Falcon covers Rah’s talk in chapel.  

February 2              

A faculty and staff forum on racial diversity and reconciliation is held in Upper Gwinn Commons. The Falcon reports on the forum.

January 25             

President Martin invites faculty and staff to a forum on racial diversity and reconciliation to be held February 2. 

January 25

Students release open letter to President Martin expressing disappointment with the first forum and asking for a second forum to continue the conversation. The Falcon reports on the students’ open letter.

January 22

Students in SPU’s School of Theology begin petition for “Diversity of Faculty in the School of Theology.” The Falcon reports on the petition. 

January 20

Faculty and staff are invited to a forum with Dr. Alex Gee about racial diversity at college campuses.  

January 19

Dr. Alex Gee is the guest speaker for SPU’s annual Martin Luther King Jr Chapel. Gee is the senior pastor of Fountain of Life Church and the president and founder of the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, both located in Madison, Wisconsin. He has served in the roles of professor, spiritual life coach, diversity consultant, community activist, columnist, and radio host.  He is known nationally for his efforts to mobilize Madison toward racial equality and justice. The Falcon reports on the event.  

January 14

The first campus forum for students on race, diversity, and reconciliation is held in Upper Gwinn. The Falcon reports on the event. 


December 2  

The Falcon reports on the unrest on college campuses around the nation, and interviews SPU students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

November 25        

SPU President Dan Martin sends an open letter to students by email with his thoughts on the growing campus unrest around the nation about issues of diversity, racial division, and discrimination. He also announces plans for a series of forums.

ASSP leadership team, 2016-17

Meet the 2016–17 ASSP officers

The 2016–17 Associated Students of Seattle Pacific Officer Core, elected by students, is the most diverse officer core in Seattle Pacific history.

Top row, left to right:  Shongi Motsi, vice president of ministries; Mara Kramer, executive vice president; Nathan Bennett, vice president of finance.

Bottom row, left to right: Jess Sloan, vice president of intercultural affairs; Lola Sosanya, president; and Bilen Yitbarek, vice president of campus activities.