SPU faculty, staff letter of lament

Faculty, staff at SPU submit letter lamenting SPU’s action’s against the LGBTQIA+ community

Kyle Morrison, News Editor

Flags appeared on campus sometime on Sunday night. (Marissa Lordahl)

On Thursday Feb. 11, Seattle Pacific faculty and staff released a letter of lament, addressing SPU’s statement on human sexuality and controversial hiring practices, and requesting structural changes to SPU policies regarding LGBTQIA+ individuals. Faculty and staff is hoping to gather as many signatures as possible from all areas of the SPU community before presenting it to the Board of Trustees at the February board meeting. This all comes in response to part time professor Jeaux Rinedahl’s lawsuit against SPU claiming sexual orientation discrimination.

The letter is rooted deeply in the biblical tradition of a lament.

“We lament because Scripture teaches us that lament is faith seeking understanding, a means of voicing our cries to God. It is a form of worship, transformational for the believer and essential for the journey of reconciliation,” faculty and staff explain. 

According to the third paragraph, SPU faculty and staff are hoping to reach a shared understanding with the Board of Trustees on LGBTQIA+ issues. 

“In sharing this, we seek to build bridges of understanding, shared pain, and healing, as well as to advocate for silenced voices and effect change in SPU’s written policy and institutional practices regarding human sexuality,” the letter explains. 

The letter then transitions into a list of laments, these laments are divided into sections addressing different issues related to SPU’s policies. This includes the emotional pain experienced by LGBTQIA+ individuals on campus, the lack of welcoming and support SPU has shown to LGBTQIA+ individuals in its community and how SPU has stifled the holy spirit through its policies and how SPU has held itself back from a bright future by denying itself a diversity of different voices. 

After the laments, the letter brings up five requests for future actions by the board of trustees. Among these are requests for SPU to eliminate the statement on human sexuality, to change their hiring practices to include LGBTQIA+ individuals, and begin reconciling their actions so that the community can be allowed to heal. 

SPU faculty and staff join the ASSP Senate as the second major SPU institution this week to formally ask the Board of Trustees to eliminate the statement on human sexuality. On Feb. 9 ASSP Senate sent the board a letter, asking to replace the statement on human sexuality with a statement of affirmation.

In response to the continuing calls for change across the SPU campus, Provost Laura Hartley will be hosting a town hall for the SPU community, through ASSP senate on Feb. 15 at 8PM in order to address the statement on human sexuality.

Correction: Original version of the article stated that the letter was written by faculty. It was a joint letter between the SPU faculty and staff.