Eastern Announces Justice Institute

     Earlier this month, Eastern announced the establishment of the Campolo Institute for Applied Research in Social Justice—or, as it is referred to in short, the Campolo Justice Institute. Social justice is already an integral part of Eastern’s mission, and the goal of the institute is to advance this part of our mission even further by supporting researched approaches to the complex causes of brokenness and suffering in our world. The preliminary plan for the Justice Institute notes that it “will consolidate efforts, increasing the quantity and quality of projects designed to address complex injustices.”

     Named in honor of Tony Campolo’s unique commitment to both scholarship and social justice, its mission is “to encourage excellent research focused on transforming the conditions of injustice by supporting social justice research, creating opportunities for broad community engagement in social justice practice and promoting social justice solutions, rooted in Christian conceptions of justice, which include reconciliation and restoration.”

     The core activities of the Justice Institute will fall into three categories. The first is supporting research to increase understanding of injustices. The second core activity is praxis—that is, creating opportunities for faculty, students, community and church members to engage in applying methods of social justice, especially from a Christian perspective. The third core activity is education: the institute will seek to raise awareness of justice issues and possible solutions by sharing the results of research on a broad basis with the university and especially with the communities and stakeholders most affected by these issues.

     Sharon Gramby-Sobukwe, chair of the political science department, is leading  development of the Justice Institute. It will eventually be governed by an Advisory Board, but for the first two years it will be governed by a working faculty group including: Tony Campolo, Eric Flett, Ann Francois and Rebecca Hays from CAS; Lindy Backues and Heewon Chang from CBL; Drick Boyd, Dean Patricia Reger, Geraldine Remy, Tara Stoppa and Randolph Walters from CHeSS; and Marsha Brown Woodard from Palmer Seminary/CTM.

     We are all excited to see what new learning and opportunities will arise within Eastern’s community and beyond as the Campolo Justice Institute begins to take root.

     Sources: Sharon Gramby-Sobukwe, Campolo Justice Institute Preliminary Plan, eastern.edu

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