Greetings Juniatians,

It is my hope that the few days away for Thanksgiving break were full of rest, good food and engaging conversation. It is a time of year that I look forward to because of those 3 things. It seems even more special during this time now that my daughter is old enough in some ways to understand what this means a little better. She embraced the role of host for our family from Ohio and even gave specific instructions on how to make a turkey (it was hilarious).

What I also understand is that the holidays don’t always bring about peace, good food and engaging conversation. At times it may provide the exact opposite. Dinner tables can become turf wars, rest becomes evasive because of lack of personal and emotional safety, conversations are full of challenges for all involved because of varying beliefs and difficulty talking about them.

If I were to give a theme for this month’s message, it would be “Respectful Conversations across Difference” (my father was and brother is a Pentecostal preacher, I get it honest). We are in a time fraught with uncertainty, scarcity and tremendous amount of change. For some, that brings out the best in them, for others, not so much. We choose a side and defend it to a point where we alienate others that don’t believe in the same way. As a result we create a volatility that pervades all of our interactions. It’s difficult to grow from there.

One such place where conversations can be difficult is looking back on the last 2 weeks in our country’s justice system. Three very prominent cases with 3 very different results. The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse who was found not guilty of the death of 3 people in Wisconsin. Julius Jones who was granted clemency hours before his scheduled execution in Oklahoma. Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William Bryan, all three found guilty of the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. We’ve heard the many talking points about these cases and may have made our own decision about the outcomes. How we take the time to talk about these things with people of the same and/or opposing viewpoints is of the utmost importance.

Our role as Juniatians is to now lead the way towards having respectful conversations. We must first view this as a sign of respect to ourselves and others which will then aid us in our growth as members of this learning community. It ties directly to several of the Church of the Brethren values – integrity of speech, peace and reconciliation, and service to others. Let us remember these in the weeks and months ahead.



We believe that it is important to remind ourselves of the policies that are in place related to discrimination and harassment. This includes the singling out of others related to their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion and nation of origin.


Upcoming Events:

  • For the remainder of the academic year, open hours in the office of EDI will be Thursdays from 1-3. If there are pressing concerns that need to be addressed and this time frame doesn’t work, feel free to email to schedule an appointment. During finals week additional open hours will be available. Check the Arch for an updated schedule.
  • Mark your calendars for January 18-22, 2022 for MLK Week of Celebration
  • Mark your calendars for March 29-April 1, 2022 for EDI Week @ Juniata

Remember that we can do this together! While we may not always agree, we are always fellow Juniatians!


Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle
Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion