Recently, Southern Nazarene University has implemented changes in the lifestyle covenant regarding the policies dealing with harassment and disrespect. As a step towards becoming a more culturally responsive community, the change in language was unanimously approved in the spring semester of 2020. However, when SNU moved to an online model after spring break, many students were left unaware of the historic addition to the lifestyle covenant.
The proposal faced no opposition when approved by the Cabinet, Spiritual Life, Intercultural Learning and Engagement (ILE), and Student Life. All new and returning students signed the updated lifestyle covenant upon return in the fall 2020 semester.
The newest version of the handbook, including the updated lifestyle covenant, is available online now. This change can be found in the third section of the covenant, and explicitly states that racism of any kind, whether it be hate speech, bullying or disregard for any individual or group will not be tolerated.
Misty Jaggers has stated that to enforce these new changes, it is expected that students who are aware of a violation of this portion of the covenant will report it. To do so, one can directly talk to Dr. Lena Crouso, the chief diversity officer, or they can go through an online grievance form. From there, student life and ILE will coordinate with the student and navigate the judicial process. This new system allows for greater accountability as the administration moves towards equity and justice within the SNU community.
Dr. Lena Crouso, Misty Jaggers, and Katy Bradley agree that it is essential that the student body and faculty are aware that the university has left no room for interpreting the expectations of how we all interact with one another. Jaggers believes that “although hearts might not be changed by rules and regulations, behaviors are, which impacts the shaping of who we become.”
It is the hope of the university that this will affect the community by provoking us all to reflect more on who Christ wants us to be, as well as creating a more safe environment for those who may feel unsafe and unheard.
Abes Mekuria, the SGA Executive for Intercultural Engagement, believes that the university “has staff and faculty that are willing to be servant leaders to achieve this important task. Diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice, these are the goals of interculturalism, and this comes about when we step out of our comfort zone and start learning and diving deeper in community with our fellow neighbors, whomever they may be.”
To all students, this university is turning towards an era of achieving equality for all individuals in our community. Intercultural Learning and Engagement, SGA, and Spiritual Life are just a few of the many organizations that you can go to if you have questions or concerns. Together, we can make SNU an inclusive community that celebrates diversity and individuality.