Eastern Mennonite University Asks for Feedback about Hiring Policies

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. Eastern Mennonite University is currently getting feedback from community members about its hiring policies, as part of its six-month listening process.

Currently, the policy does not allow people in same-sex relationships to be hired.

Floyd Blosser attended EMU and is part of Mennonite congregation. He said he wants the policy to stay the same.

"We believe that marriage is one man and woman for life. It would be our desire that they would adhere to our statement of faith," said Blosser.

Currently, EMU stakeholders can complete a survey that asks if the hiring process and practices should change.

Erin Freeman who is a senior at EMU took the survey and she is encouraging others to do the same. She is in favor of allowing people in same sex-relationships to be hired.

"It should be about how well someone can teach, how well someone can engage with students, not what happens in someone's personal life," said Freeman.

Freeman who identifies as bisexual and is the co-president of Safe Space, a group that supports the LGBTQ community, this change could make a difference even after she graduates.

"I have a lot of friends who will still be here, I have friends who want to teach here. This goes on to affect my whole community," said Freeman.

According to Blosser, this could impact the church.

"It would alienate a lot of the Mennonite church members and probably change the relationship with some of the constituency," said Blosser.

EMU president Loren Swartzendruber is talking to stakeholders off campus and checking the results from surveys.

He anticipates more discussions to occur in March and April. The survey would be available for other members of the community in March.

"We know we are not going to have consensus, that is just not simply possible so we will have to make judgements in light of all the feedback that we receive," said Swartzendruber.

He will provide a recommendation to the Board of Trustees in June. The members would have the final say.

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