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Join the Bethel Community Music Initiative

This petition made change with 486 supporters!

We are a group of students and alumni at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, who are dedicated to protecting and furthering the positive impact of the Bethel Music Department.

During the past year, Bethel has been faced with some very difficult financial decisions. As a result of this, some academic programs have been recently eliminated - including Music Education, Vocal Performance, Composition, and Sacred Music - and some long-time faculty and staff will be losing their positions within the next three years. In response to these cuts in the Music Department, we have written a representative letter to Bethel's administration. We believe that the elimination of the Music Education degree in particular will greatly jeopardize the strength and vitality of Bethel's music community; it is currently the largest major within the Bethel Music Department. We wish to rally support for the department, our ensembles, and the community by involving as many people as possible in an effort to reinstate the Music Education major. We do this with the utmost respect for the servant leaders of our administration.

Please read the Representative Letter below, and in support, please sign it. Our goal is 1000 signatures! We encourage you to view this as more than simply signing a petition; it is our hope that you will take this as the first step in joining us to support the Music Department and the Bethel community.

To the Administration of Bethel University,

Thank you for your hard work and dedication toward keeping Christ at the center of this university. Our deep respect of you as servant leaders and our gratefulness for the Christian education Bethel provides are what prompt us to write to you concerning the recent cuts made in the Music Department. While we fully acknowledge the necessity of difficult decisions and do not profess to understand all the complex factors that have led to departmental cuts, we feel we must communicate our concerns to you regarding the elimination of the Bachelor of Music Education degree.

As current music ensemble members, alumni, and Bethel community members, we believe the elimination of the Music Education degree will have numerous adverse effects on both the functions of the Music Department and the music ministry of Bethel as a whole. Although we view all the removed music degrees as valuable and worthwhile, the Music Education major is the largest current major in the Music Department at Bethel, and as such we believe the additional loss of these students will especially damage the Bethel music community. Music Education students are among the most committed students in their ensembles. They are deeply involved in every part of an ensemble—pursuing musical excellence, acting as student conductors, managing ensemble retreats and tours, fostering close relationships among peers and with directors, and creating continuity that links ensembles from year to year. In these ways, the existence of Music Education majors in each ensemble directly impacts the core experience of every ensemble member at Bethel. Even outside of Bethel’s ensembles, these students are engaged members of other musical activities on campus, including the UNITED Ministry at Chapel and Vespers and the Bethel Pep Band. Music Education majors are vital in forming a committed, unified, and flourishing Christian music community.

Bethel music students, past and present, love the way this community operates and grows from year to year, but we have become deeply troubled about the likelihood of maintaining such an atmosphere without the existence of the Music Education major. We ask, how will the music department as a whole thrive if its most central elements are no longer present? How will the music community nurture, fellowship, worship, and serve with each other both inside and outside of musical activities? We believe that it will not be able to do so effectively if the musical health of the community is in question.If the strength of the Music Department and its ensembles is no longer an aspect of Bethel that attracts incoming students—both music majors and otherwise—how many prospective students will be compelled to look elsewhere?We believe that this will happen more and more frequently, which will cripple the quality, “family life,” and size of the ensembles.

Finally, how will Bethel maintain a Christian witness in the music world without the possibility of sending out music educators? The countless students every teacher can reach is awe-inspiring, but music teachers in particular have the ability to relate to students on a highly personal level.. The interactive nature of a music class, the individual attention a student receives in lessons, and the engaging opportunities in musical extracurricular activities are all unique to Music Education. We believe this is a valuable way that Bethel can send out leaders to renew minds, live out Biblical truth, transform culture, and advance the Gospel. Our irreplaceable music professors and ensemble directors inspire students to pursue music, and we are saddened that future Bethel students will not be able to follow in the footsteps of their professors and directors in music, education, and faith, to become future World Changers.

We write to you for this reason and, more importantly, out of our deep concern for the well-being of the ensembles, department, and school as a whole. Therefore, it is our hope that discussion would be opened between administration and faculty about the reinstatement of the music education major. We commit to assisting this possibility in any way we can. Thank you for your efforts to bring Bethel through this time of hardship.

The Bethel Community Music Initiative

Led by Bethel Students:
Stephen Seaberg
Jared Hedges
Michael Urch
Michelle Hofeldt 
(among others)


Please visit our Facebook Page for more information and for more ways that you can help, such as by writing a personal testimonial (different than a "Reason for Signing comment).

 And please, remember that we do this out of deep respect for the leaders of our university. Keep your supportive responses positive.

Thank you for your time, your consideration, and your support!

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