Diversity and Inclusion

Graceland is for everyone.

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Committed to Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

Graceland University is working to ensure all aspects of the institution engage with intention to advocate for, promote, and sustain a commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. All members of our community are encouraged to actively challenge norms, cultures, and structures that foster exclusion, oppression, or marginalization in order to create a culture of inclusion and justice by embracing and learning from a wide spectrum of experiences, ideas, viewpoints, and methods.

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Statement of Commitment

In 2019, a working group of faculty, staff, and students worked together to craft the University’s statement of commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This statement was formally adopted by the full faculty, administration, and board of trustees in spring of 2020.

Words Matter.

These definitions have been developed by the Sustainable Social Justice Committee to help clarify meaning and context for Graceland University and how we apply and understand them. We also recognize that these definitions are not fixed but will be adapted and adjusted as our experience and understanding of inclusion, justice, equity, and diversity deepen. In that sense, these are living definitions and will provide a working path of application while simultaneously empowering a shared lens for meaning.

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We believe all people have something important to offer and that our community is greater when all voices are heard. Graceland is dedicated to conscious actions taken to affirm the worth of all persons. These actions will only be determined as successful when every member of our community feels a true sense of belonging.


Justice involves working to dismantle and deconstruct the barriers to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This makes justice our ultimate goal; a community where all of our actions are driven by our dedication to support  the acceptance, inclusion, and equity of all students, staff, and faculty.


Equity is the systemic erasure of access and opportunity gaps that exist within our community. Graceland will research the needs of our community members with the goal of providing customized support where it is needed to promote equal access to resources, and opportunities.


We affirm diversity by creating a community that assembles and empowers students, faculty, and staff who are representative of various cultures to feel included and equally valued. We strive to  listen openly to all voices, and to seek out those voices that are currently absent from our community.


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Title IX

What is it?

In June 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 into law. Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that has removed many barriers that once prevented people, on the basis of sex, from participating in educational opportunities and careers of their choice. It states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, in be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

On June 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education issued a notice of interpretation clarifying that “[c]onsistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling and analysis in Bostock, the Department [of Education] interprets Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ to encompass discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. (Source – justice.gov/crt/title-ix#Introduction)

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Statement of Commitment to Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

Graceland University values the worth of all persons. We create a culture of inclusion by embracing and learning from a wide spectrum of experiences, ideas, and viewpoints. This unwavering commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice is fundamental to our excellence and success as an institution. Ultimately, we aim to cultivate lifelong learners who will engage in transformational service and leadership to create a more just world for all.

As we work toward understanding and equity, Graceland University pledges to:

  • affirm diversity by creating a community that assembles and empowers students, faculty, and staff who are representative of various cultures to feel included and equally valued.
  • create a learning environment that ensures equity and inclusion, while providing cultural, educational, and mentoring initiatives for students and the extended Graceland community that can lead to a more just and inclusive society.
  • acknowledge that power imbalances and institutional bias may prevent students, faculty, and staff from feeling welcomed, accepted, and validated; so we aim to establish and maintain an equitable culture in which all have a voice.
  • address inequality and injustice that may arise from any differential distribution of power, resources, and privilege and be willing to protect community members against aggression. from within and outside our environment.
  • embed inclusiveness and diversity into the institution’s structures and processes by working with faculty and staff to support the cultural, academic and social needs of students of all backgrounds.

Since its dedication in 1895, when it was declared that the college should be open “to all irrespective of faith or creed,” Graceland has drawn on its history, carved in its original building’s cornerstone, as a nonsectarian place of learning resting on the principles of peace, unity, and community from its founding church. To that end, we resolve that our learning community will strive to be equitable and welcoming to students of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, genders, gender identities and expressions, religious and spiritual beliefs, political affiliations, ages, colors, sizes, sexual orientations, abilities, immigrant status, and national origins.

– Formally adopted by faculty, administration and board of trustees, Spring 2020

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