On Monday morning, President Kevin J Worthen announced that Brigham Young University will form a new Office of Belonging, which will aim to not only root out racism but also to combat “prejudice of any kind, including that based on race, ethnicity, nationality, tribe, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic status, religious belief, and sexual orientation.”
The formation of this new office came as the result of findings of an in-depth report prepared by BYU’s Committee on Race, Equity and Belonging and will be led by a vice-president level official who will be a member of the President’s Council.
President Worthen explained that the school’s President’s Council reached the decision to form a new office on campus.
“We determined that a necessary first step was to establish a framework within which—and by which—we would evaluate the various recommendations,” Worthen said. “The framework would not only provide guiding principles for evaluating the recommendations and measuring our progress but also set forth a vision of our end goal—what we hoped our campus community would become.”
In conjunction with the announcement, the school released the following “Statement on Belonging”:
We are united by our common primary identity as children of God (Acts 17:29; Psalm 82:6) and our commitment to the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ (BYU Mission Statement). We strive to create a community of belonging composed of students, faculty, and staff whose hearts are knit together in love (Mosiah 18:21) where: All relationships reflect devout love of God and a loving, genuine concern for the welfare of our neighbor (BYU Mission Statement); We value and embrace the variety of individual characteristics, life experiences and circumstances, perspectives, talents, and gifts of each member of the community and the richness and strength they bring to our community (1 Corinthians 12:12–27); Our interactions create and support an environment of belonging (Ephesians 2:19); and The full realization of each student’s divine potential is our central focus (BYU Mission Statement).