John McVay Discusses Diversity at Walla Walla University

Editor’s note: This article and video interview were originally published by North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) and are reprinted here with permission.

After an unfortunate social post by several Walla Walla University (WWU) students brought concerns over racism and diversity to the forefront, the university has been intentional about addressing these concerns.

On April 3, John McVay, WWU president, spoke candidly to students, staff and faculty in a campus-wide CommUnity meeting, emphasizing the core values of a Christian body of believers. His powerful address with other germane questions and answers are available on the university’s website.

In addition, Steve Vistaunet, Gleaner editor, conducted a 30-minute video interview with McVay on April 17. During that interview, McVay acknowledged that the initial social media incident has provided the university with an opportunity to reflect on deeper issues of diversity and positive ways forward. He highlighted eight specific areas of diversity focus that will be immediately addressed. Watch the entirety of that interview below.

Eight areas of focus for immediate diversity work at Walla Walla University with external review by qualified experts:

  1. Enhancing strategies to attract diverse students, faculty, and staff.
  2. Benchmarking within higher education to identify best diversity practices (for example, Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award).
  3. Expanding diversity education opportunities and objectives for students, faculty, and staff.
  4. Focusing attention on curriculum modifications, especially in our general studies program.
  5. Carefully auditing our policies and procedures to remove any barriers to progress in diversity.
  6. Identifying feedback mechanisms for all members of our campus family.
  7. Developing a diversity scorecard, which will help us visualize progress.
  8. Offering an annual diversity report to our stakeholders.

WATCH Gleaner Dialogue: WWU Diversity Discussion with John McVay

Further Reading:

Photo of Students in Blackface Points to Walla Walla University's Diversity Problem Walla Walla University Responds Directly To Racist Image Imbroglio

Image Credit: Video still /

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

It has become commonplace for universities to have an Office/Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. I’m curious to know whether or not WWAU will set this up for themselves.

Walla Walla University already has an Assistant to the President for Diversity.


I am sure the 8 points are fleshed out in a policy document full of HR speak that even the most literate of people read and find incomprehensible.


I love it:
Two old white guys in a room discussing diversity:


Why not women’s issues?


I looked it up and Oakwood is ranked at the bottom of American universities for diversity. I wonder when the president of Oakwood is going to have to grovel and make promises to increase diversity there? (I’d give it about 1,000 years after hell freezes over.) This is really about bullying. Andrews, Walla Walla, etc. are scared of a bully campaign (it’s astounding what a little mob of students screaming “racism” can accomplish - fired presidents, multi-million dollar “diversity centers” that sometimes ban white students, etc.). When PC takes over the world the cry bullies sit in the drivers seat. I’m of course not saying what the white students posted was right, but this comes in a much wider context of using small provocations to push aggressive and divisive agendas of racial identity politics. In my opinion that’s what happened at Andrews and may be happening here at Walla Walla. I know McVay and he’s a smart and good man so hopefully he navigates this wisely and that isn’t the outcome.


This might be the best post today! Ha!


It seems that disagreeing with the diversity culture is not allowed to be mentioned here…(sorry but I really dont know how to fix this post as I dont understand what is so offensive in it?)

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I checked its content. Though I don’t think it should be flagged, I agree the content is not constructive and is actually silly.

What is “socialist pop?” It needs to be defined.

Also, the cry for diversity is nothing but a cry for inclusiveness. Minorities have been excluded from the white majority for ages. This is an open contradiction of the Christian doctrine and Jesus’ teachings. The only thing those people want is not to be looked as different, and want to to be included as anyone else.

A few days ago someone mentioned a text from EGW reading that in Heaven everyone will be white.There is absolutely no Biblical support for such an absurdity. How can such comment possibly help?

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Why is disagreeing with diversity/inclusive culture silly? In Australia govt funded TV has it written into their charters…that they need to force feed diversity and inclusiveness into their programming…birthing shows like King of Queens and the like which are about Drag queens and sympathising with alternate lifestyles not compatible with scripture…its not silly to be against this new “pop culture”…

I will ask it again:

Maybe you want to also to enlighten us if there is a “capitalist pop,” and define it if it’s the case.

Because any society will always be a mixture of different cultures, people with different education, different monetary means, different languages, and thousands of differences. A society that can balance those variables and be functional, productive, and safe, can be called a “stable society.” If one class dominates the others, that society will not be functional.

Therefore, in my opinion, disagreeing with pursuing to built a stable society is shooting one’s own foot. And, yes, I believe this is silly. But, again, it’s just my opinion.

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I’m not disagreeing with society becoming diverse…but force feeding society into diversity because we have an issue with the dominant culture will have negative consequences…I feel the push is anti-white in many cases…take for example this pastors comments before a church in the US…I really dont know how to explain it but by saying its racist towards whites.

Pop culture for your reference George…

I know what popular culture is. I was interested in your definition of “socialist pop.” But, maybe that was a typo, so never mind.

I sense that the ease with which one can classify anything they do not agree with as “hate speech” and offensive enough to censor/delete will set back the needful dialog a century or two.

Is that the purpose and intent, in order to keep those flames fanned? I pray not.
The tools and tactics used to create the problem seldom if ever are useful in the solution.

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