We Need BYU-Idaho To Establish a Diversity and Inclusion Office

We Need BYU-Idaho To Establish a Diversity and Inclusion Office

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!

Black BYUI Students
Black BYUI Students signed this petition

On Friday, June 12, the BYU-Idaho College of Performing and Visual Arts Facebook page posted an argument weaponizing the violence against the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints against Black Americans. In one of the paragraphs, it stated,

"Why am I telling you this? Because I know however oppressed you
feel, no matter if your skin color, religion, background or heritage.....YOU CAN RISE ABOVE. You can take your situation and either drown in it or use it."

This statement has become the last straw for many of us! Black students at BYU-Idaho experience racism in many forms that lead to trauma that will take many of us a long time to heal from. In just one example, many black students on this campus have been not hired at jobs or have been forced to cut their natural hairstyles because they are told they are "extreme" and against the BYU-Idaho dress code. This communicates to black students they are not safe, accepted, and free to be themselves. How can we consider this a safe spiritual home when we receive wounds instead of healing? Students constantly experience a variety of forms of racism from existing in this environment, without support or resources from a university which says puts us first.

This begs the question...is the school student focused and centered at all? Or does it focus only on certain students and not the rest of us? Henry B. Eyring stated the first goal of BYU-Idaho is to “build testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and to encourage living its principles.” As Elder Holland stated in April conference, "We still have hopes that have not yet been fulfilled. May we hope for schools where students are taught...and for the gift of personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by any form of racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice."

We believe that BYU-Idaho is failing their multicultural students in this mission. We call upon this university to take accountability and live up to its own stated ideals. Change must happen for this to become a secure learning environment for multicultural students. We respectfully request that:

  1. BYU-Idaho establish a Diversity and Inclusion Office. This will help make the needed change in requiring full-time and student employees be trained, educated and knowledgeable on Race, Ethnicity and Socio-economic matters. BYU-Idaho students will graduate, go into the professional world were most companies are conscious of these issues and have departments where they train and hold working groups centered on creating awareness on diversity and inclusion for their employees. We do not want our fellow students to be known for ignorance, addressing these issues could only prepare all students for more success in their future professional and personal lives.
  2. BYU-Idaho establish a Multicultural Student Services office that allows all students to have their needs met. Academic needs cannot be fulfilled without meeting the needs of the whole individual. Allowing this office to coordinate community and networking events would be vital not only to our mental health but also to the networking success for the rest of our lives. BYU in Provo has a Multicultural Student Services Office that focuses on advisement in academic, cultural, financial, social and personal needs for their students.

These two offices could coordinate to improve the lives of all BYU-Idaho students. The multicultural students of BYU-Idaho do not have hope for a brighter day at this time. Change must happen for us to truly be united as sons and daughters creating a Zion community. These changes will help the multicultural students at BYU-Idaho need to know we are being seen and heard by the University. May we all be a part of accountability and improvement in our commitment to the ongoing restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We call on all people who support these changes and stand with us in solidarity to sign the petition below.