PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – A new office has been formed at Brigham Young University in Provo – the Office of Belonging. This comes after an in-depth report from BYU’s Committee on Race, Equity, and Belonging conducted in February.
President Kevin Worthen announced the new office, which will be led by a vice-president level official, saying it “will focus on helping campus members achieve the community of belonging outlined in a newly created statement on belonging.” Primarily, the Office of Belonging will focus on “coordinating and enhancing belonging services and efforts 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 says. “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.”
You can read BYU’s full statement on belonging below:
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).
Worthen says the Office of Belonging will be core to “BYU’s efforts to root out racism” and will “combat ‘prejudice of any kind, including that based on race, ethnicity, nationality, tribe, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic status, religious belief and sexual orientation.'”