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Letter of Solidarity and Accountability from White Deans & Presidents

The Following is a Letter of Solidarity and Accountability from White Deans & Presidents of ATS Member Schools and Affiliates in Response to ​Black Presidents and Deans

June 22, 2020

Dear Colleagues in the Association of Theological Schools,

We white deans and presidents join the Association of Theological Schools community in grief and  outrage over the ongoing racism and anti-black violence in our country. We proclaim unequivocally: Black Lives Matter and No More Stolen Black Lives!

The recent murders of Black women and men occur within a history of racial violence by white people  including the genocide of native peoples, the monstrosities of the slave trade, Jim Crow laws, lynching and white terrorism, mass incarceration, and an overarching mentality of colonization. ​The power and principality of whiteness and its systemic evils rest upon destructive and defective theologies that are antithetical to our core faith commitments.

We confess our complicity in perpetuating white supremacy. This confession must be backed by actions. The personal and collective work of antiracism is intellectual, spiritual, and embodied. As presidents and deans of theological schools, we must act to end racial violence and injustices in our nation, cities, institutions, and ourselves.

We write to be held publicly accountable and to hold each other accountable for anti-racist work in our institutions. We recognize that we have been slow to organize and add our voices to those of African American, Latino/a, and Asian descent presidents and deans. Our failure to speak is a measure of our complicity in white supremacy. We commit to: 1) following the lead of our colleagues of color in the Association of Theological Schools, pursuing in solidarity the work of racial justice; 2) decentering whiteness, unlearning white supremacy, and reimagining theological education; 3) shouldering the ongoing work of ridding our institutions of racism; and 4) confronting the damages of whiteness and  dismantling its hold on our systems and structures as central to our collective work.

Sincerely,

Alison M. Benders, Interim Dean, Jesuit School of Theology
Peter L. Jones, Interim Dean, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago
Michelle A. Clifton-Soderstrom, Interim Dean of Faculty, North Park Theological Seminary
Beth Tanner, Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs, New Brunswick Theological Seminary
Peter R. Gathje, Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean, Memphis Theological Seminary
Beverly Lapp, Vice President and Academic Dean, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
David Cassady, President, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
David W. Kersten, Dean & Vice President for Church Relations, North Park Theological Seminary
Gabriella Lettini, Dean and CAO, Starr King School for the Ministry-GTU
David Boshart, President, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Esther Menn, Dean of Academic Affairs, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Jody Hill, President, Memphis Theological Seminary
Ruth Meyers, Dean of Academic Affairs, Church Divinity School of the Pacific
Deborah Krause, President-Elect, Eden Theological Seminary
W. Mark Richardson, President and Dean, Church Divinity School of the Pacific
Scott Woodward, President-Elect, Oblate School of Theology
Douglas R. Cullum, Vice President and Dean, Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College
Jacqueline Lapsley, Dean/Vice President of Academic Affairs, Princeton Theological Seminary
Craig Barnes, President, Princeton Theological Seminary
Alan Ehler, Dean, Southeastern University School of Divinity
David Mellott, President, Christian Theological Seminary
Dalen C. Jackson, Academic Dean, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
Jennifer L.S. Bader, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Thomas D. Stegman, S.J., Dean, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Robin Steinke, President, Luther Seminary
Andrew H. Wakefield, Dean, Campbell University Divinity School
Tim Sensing, Associate Dean, Graduate School of Theology, Abilene Christian University
Heather Hartung Vacek, Vice President for Academic Affairs /Dean of Faculty, Pittsburgh Theological  Seminary
Serene L. Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary, New York
Pamela Cooper-White, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Union Theological Seminary, New  York
Gary M. Burge, Dean of the Faculty, Calvin Theological Seminary
David Esterline, President, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Michael Koppel, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Wesley Theological Seminary
Raymond Pickett, Rector, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
James Nieman, President, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Drew University Theological School
Jiří Moskala, Dean, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
John Vissers, Principal, Knox College
William D. Shiell, President, Northern Seminary
Bryan Stone, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Boston University School of Theology
Robert W. Canoy, Dean, M. Christopher White School of Divinity, Gardner-Webb University
James R. Hart, President, Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies
Micah T. Jackson, President, Bexley Seabury Seminary
Therese B. DeLisio, Academic Dean, Bexley Seabury Seminary
Thomas V. Wolfe, President & CEO, Iliff School of Theology
Ken Cukrowski, Dean, Abilene Christian University: Graduate School of Theology
Philip Wingeier-Rayo, Dean, Wesley Theological Seminary
Peter Spitaler, Chair, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Villanova University
Peter M. Donohue, OSA, University President, Villanova University
Michael S. Koppel, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Wesley Theological Seminary
Michelle Voss Roberts, Principal, Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology
Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President, Seminary of the Southwest
Ora Horn Prouser, CEO and Academic Dean, Academy for Jewish Religion
David H. Crawford, President, McCormick Theological Seminary
MaryKate Morse, Dean, Portland Seminary
William Harrison, President, Lutheran Theological Seminary Saskatoon
Gordon Jensen, Academic Dean, Lutheran Theological Seminary Saskatoon
Craig L. Nessan, Academic Dean, Wartburg Theological Seminary
Craig D. Atwood, Interim Dean, Moravian Theological Seminary
Ian S. Markham, Dean and President, Virginia Theological Seminary
David T. Lamb, Dean of the Faculty, Missio Seminary
Frank A. James III, President, Missio Seminary
Nancy Claire Pittman, President, Phillips Theological Seminary
Kristine Stache, Interim President, Wartburg Theological Seminary
Melody Knowles, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Virginia Theological Seminary
Jeffrey Carter, President, Bethany Theological Seminary
Steven Schweitzer, Academic Dean, Bethany Theological Seminary
Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty, Claremont School  of Theology
Chip Aldridge, Associate Dean for Admissions, Wesley Theological Seminary
Deana L. Porterfield, President, Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College
Nancy R. Heisey, Associate dean, Eastern Mennonite Seminary
Jacqueline Regan, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Jan Love, Mary Lee Hardin Willard Dean, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Jonathan Strom, Senior Associate Dean, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
David Williams, President, Taylor Seminary

Signatures accurate as of 6/28/20.



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