Statement of Renewed Institutional Commitment Regarding Sexualized Violence Prevention, Reporting, and Response

June 17, 2019

A statement of renewed institutional commitment, offered by Beverly Lapp, Ed.D., AMBS Vice President and Academic Dean.

I joined the leadership team of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary almost one year ago, and my appreciation for the institutional ethos and character of this place has only deepened since then. At AMBS I see a sustained commitment to intercultural competence and undoing racism. I see the faculty’s dedication to rigorous and transformative theological training that illuminates the gospel of Jesus Christ as the gospel of peace, challenges colonialism and patriarchy, and seeks to dismantle the harmful effects of the Doctrine of Discovery. I see AMBS’s commitment to be fully welcoming and inclusive of all students — regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and identity, age, nationality, ability, documentation, socioeconomic status, or theological persuasion — and to equip them for ministry. I see an intense desire among our administrators, faculty, and staff to learn from the global Anabaptist story and from the wisdom of our siblings in the worldwide church. I see a place that extends hospitality to students across a theological spectrum to learn together what Anabaptist history, theology, and approaches to Scripture can offer to a fractured and complex society. I see a commitment to building upon President Sara Wenger Shenk’s survivor-centered approach as we engage in the vital work of improving our sexual misconduct policies and training resources — and prepare to welcome a new president.

Given AMBS’s enduring commitments and in light of recent calls from sexual assault survivors and advocates to improve our training and policies for sexualized violence prevention, reporting, and response, the Administrative Cabinet of AMBS commits to the following one-year plan:

  1. Make immediate changes to our Sexual Misconduct Policy in summer 2019 to increase reporting venues, remove timeline language, increase training for staff receiving reports, and make other improvements.
  2. Contract with an off-campus resource to provide Sexual Misconduct prevention, recognition, and response training for new students during new student orientation in August 2019.
  3. Contract with an outside survivor-centered organization to audit and make recommendations for AMBS policies and procedures around sexualized violence. This work will begin fall 2019.
  4. Select and implement an online Title IX training module for all AMBS employees and volunteers to be in place by September 2019.
  5. Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, require AMBS students in the MDivMATPS, and MACF degree programs to complete the Healthy Boundaries training of FaithTrust Institute before advancement to candidacy.