Message from Judson President on Racism and Inequality | Judson University Christian College

A Message from Judson President Gene Crume

Dear Judson Community,

To our Judson students and their families, staff, faculty and alumni of color, my heart aches and my soul is burdened for you because of the experiences of racism and inequality you have experienced. I believe black lives matter. The specificity of this statement is important because systemic racism towards persons of color is real. I echo the words of Board of Trustees Chair Rev. Dr. Darryl Jenkins as he shared in his message earlier this week, “I share on behalf of the entire Judson University community please know that your pain is our pain.” Our community is deeply grieved by the violence, fear and inequity caused by systemic racial injustice and we are committed to working against these forces every day.

Jesus was very specific when he spoke to people. In His desire to directly address individuals, he initiated the conversations that spoke to the hurt, pain and suffering that each of us feels. He acknowledged his love and concern for us to the point that he physically bore that burden. It is a lesson in compassion and communication we should all follow.

I know that some feel this statement comes too late from me. I am sorry for my personal lack of communication during such hurtful times. I pray that you do know my love and concern for you, and I hope you feel and accept my continued work through my various leadership roles to prevent racism and hatred. I want to acknowledge the helpful conversations with current students, parents of Judson students, alumni and community members over the past week in helping me consider how I can provide more effective leadership during such challenging times.

Sharon Bush, the Executive Director of the Grand Victoria Foundation in Chicago and a professional colleague that I am fortunate to know, stated in an opinion article yesterday in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “I am frustrated that too many white people still do not realize that they must be part of the solution to structural racism.” I agree with Sharon, and I know my frustration is but a drop of rain to her ocean of disappointment. Addressing injustice, racism and hatred is everyone’s responsibility, and those of us who serve in leadership have additional responsibility to do all we can to include speaking out that together we find the best of what unites us, and not divides us.

Over the past seven years, we have worked diligently at Judson to address the organizational structures that enable systemic racism both within our University community and beyond. African-Americans now hold prominent leadership positions throughout all levels of University governance. We have made progress in hiring persons of color, especially over the past three years. In Fall 2012, African-American/Black students represented 7% of our total enrollment. Last fall they represented 14%.

Yet, we have made mistakes, and we can do more. We continue to assess and reassess ways to increase the graduation and retention rates of our African-American and Hispanic/Latino undergraduate students which are lower than our Caucasian students. That is unacceptable. We experienced two significant issues of racial prejudice on our campus this past year, yet our diligence in creating sustainable dialogue to publicly address these issues and ongoing actions to prevent them from occurring again was lacking. We can do better, and we will do better.

Over the next several weeks and into the next academic year, we will be introducing additional programs to support all of our students of color. We will be asking our students, alumni and volunteer leadership to speak into issues of racial inequality as well as provide you with opportunities for getting involved with these plans. Together, as a Christ-centered community, we will make an even bigger impact on these issues to ensure that we honor God by making sure hate has no home in our community and in society.

Gene Crume


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Related Links: Please see Judson University's Pledge to Diversity and our Affirmation Statement on Diversity.

See Rev. Dr. Darryl Jenkins Letter to the Judson Community on June 2, 2020.

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