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BYU forms new 'office of belonging' to address diversity

Posted at 9:11 AM, Aug 24, 2021

PROVO, Utah — Brigham Young University President Kevin Worthen announced the formation of a new "Office of Belonging" Monday.

It came up during the annual university conference held for faculty and staff on campus.

The offices creation comes after an in-depth report by BYU's committee on race, equity and belonging back in February.

It's purpose is to address the needs of all marginalized individuals on campus by coordinating and enhancing belonging services and efforts and rooting out racism and prejudice.

During that same conference LDS Church Apostle Jeff Roy Holland called attention to what he referred to as "friendly fire" from some BYU faculty and staff over the church's stance on same sex marriage and other issues.

He said some instructors publicly criticized the church and its doctrines when they should have been defending it.

He also questioned why a valedictorian student would use his commencement speech two years ago to come out as gay.

Elder Holland said BYU could mimic every other university in the world and the world would still say, "BYU who?"

"We must have the will to stand alone, to be different, if necessary. Being a university second to none in its role primarily as an undergraduate teaching institution that is unequivocally true to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If at a future time, that mission means forgoing some professional affiliations and certifications, then so be it," Holland said.

Holland's remarks sparked a firestorm on social media. Some calling it disastrous.

Our content partners at the Salt Lake Tribune report, Matt Easton, the gay valedictorian, was surprised and disappointed by Holland's reference to him and said that he's proud of what he did and stands by it.