The purpose of the Boston University School of Theology is to pursue knowledge of God, to cultivate leaders for communities of faith, to enrich the academy, and to seek peace with justice in a diverse and interconnected world.
As the founding school of Boston University and the oldest United Methodist seminary in North America, we are a professional school within a cosmopolitan research university that is itself committed to “learning, virtue, and piety.” Rooted in the Wesleyan traditions and drawing from the wider Christian traditions of the world, we strive to equip women and men for ministries and vocations that foster personal and social transformation, that are oriented to the world’s diversities, and that expand the prophetic legacy of this historic School of Theology.
1. Love. As a community with roots in a Christian tradition, we affirm that love for our neighbor, as an expression of God’s infinite love for humankind, is a compelling command to work towards the well-being of every single member of our community. An offense against one is therefore an offense against all.
2. Justice. As a community with an historic and sometimes prophetic commitment to justice, we must commit ourselves to working for justice and exposing injustice, not only for ourselves, but for every member of the community. That involves positively resisting the evils of violence, racism, hate, discrimination, and silencing.
3. Safety. We all must commit to making our community a safe learning environment where no student, staff, or faculty, regardless of age, sex, color, ethnicity, physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or religious opinion, is harassed, bullied, or intimidated for any reason. We must commit to support policies that prohibit the mistreatment of any individual or group and provide appropriate avenues for redressing grievances.
4. Rights. Religious liberty and freedom of expression are inalienable rights for all guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The purpose of these statements is to safeguard individual rights from the actions of majorities and institutions. Every effort should be made in the School of Theology community to protect these rights for all students, staff, faculty, and administrators.
5. Responsibilities. As members of the School of Theology community, we have a solemn responsibility to respect these rights for others, including those with whom we deeply disagree. Rights are best guarded and responsibilities best exercised when each person and group guards for all others those rights they wish for themselves. As fallible beings we acknowledge our failures, past and present, and agree to hold ourselves accountable to one another and to the values we wish to live by.
6. Respect. Frank and open discussions are vital to the health of any educational institution. Every individual within the School of Theology community, whatever the issue under discussion, and wherever the discussion takes place, has a responsibility to treat others with civility and respect, both in speech and in action.
These principles, as approved by the Faculty of the Boston University School of Theology, are not intended to be exhaustive or exclusive, but they at least provide a common denominator of civil discourse, along with mutual love and respect, that will govern our words and behavior in the School community. These are the principles we believe should govern our collective work as a professional/graduate faculty within a large, private urban research university.