Tim Pietz | Contributor
To many students and faculty, it feels as though administration never asked if adding a Starbucks represented Taylor's values, benefited the community or even if the students wanted it. They just decided to build it. Now, a local coffee shop has closed its doors - and Taylor is further isolated from the Upland community.
To many students and faculty, it feels as though administration never asked if a politician so closely associated with the most controversial president in recent memory would benefit the Taylor community. They just scheduled it. Now, instead of seniors celebrating their unity in faith and learning, graduation will revolve around controversial politics and media coverage.
I don't think this issue isn't about politics. It's about priorities.
"I think they're undervaluing what makes Taylor great, and that's the spiritual focus," senior Steven Vermillion said. "That's making God's name great the first priority, rather than making Taylor's name great. And the decisions they've been making - like the Starbucks or bringing in somebody big like the vice president to speak - they have come across as another misplacement of those priorities, even if administration hasn't intended it."
I know Taylor's leadership is well aware of its mistake and they are actively making efforts to bring healing to our community. Wednesday's chapel and President P. Lowell Haines' summary email were both excellent examples of that. But the decision has been made - so what now?
"This, too, will pass," Bill Heth, professor of biblical studies said. "But it will take significant time for healing to occur."
I believe Heth is right. Resolution won't come quickly. However, graduation is in mere weeks.
Angela Pacheco, assistant professor of Spanish, fears that a time of celebration will be overshadowed by polarization.
"I don't want students to remember their graduation with drama," Pacheco said.
But it's not just students who will remember - media, family members, alumni, prospectives and many more will remember what happens at commencement.
People of the Taylor community, it's time we stopped worrying about Pence's message and start remembering our own. We have a message of love. Not a shallow, fluffy sort of love that glosses over real issues - this is the deep, honest, challenging love of Christ. This is the sort of love that looks someone in the eye and says, "This is a problem. But I still love you."
So, if you must protest, do it in an acceptable way that shows respect. If you must stand in support of Pence, do it while supporting your friend who doesn't. Maybe we feel Taylor's administration didn't follow the right priorities. Well, when graduation comes, I pray we don't make the same mistake.