News get more and more outrageous and unbelievable with each passing day, especially when it comes to racial tension and insensitivity. The latest “hold-my-beer” moment comes from the desk of Lipscomb University’s president, Randy Lowry.
Last week, in presumably a well-meaning gesture, the president of the predominantly white Nashville school invited several black undergraduate students to his home for dinner. The students in attendance had hopes of discussing their specific experiences at Lipscomb, and instead were greeted with a buffet of racial triggers.
The menu for the stand-up dinner included soul food staples like macaroni and cheese, collard greens and cornbread, but the real kicker was the cotton stalk centerpieces that decorated each table. The centerpieces (which the president claimed were “fall-inspired”) were not there for the Latino dinner the night before, in which tacos were served to guests.
One student documented the problematic ordeal on her Instagram.
So I attend Lipscomb university and as most of you know that is a predominately white school. Tonight AFRICAN AMERICAN students were invited to have dinner with the president of the school. As we arrived to the president’s home and proceeded to go in we seen cotton as the center pieces. We also stood and ate dinner, there were no seats to sit in and it felt very uncomfortable. We were very offended, and also the meals that were provided resembled many “black meals” they had mac n cheese, collard greens, corn bread etc. The night before Latinos also had dinner at his house and they had tacos. They also DIDN’T have the center piece that we HAD tonight. A couple of minutes went by, the president was coming around and asking for our names and what our major was. He finally got to our table and my friend @kay_cyann asked why there was cotton on the table as the center piece. His response was that he didn’t know, he seen it before we did, he kind of thought it was ” fallish”, THEN he said ” it ISNT INHERENTLY BAD IF WERE ALL WEARING IT ” then walked off. Later on all of us that were there were invited into the home, and we had the impression that we were coming to speak about how us as Black people feel about Lipscomb. The whole entire time we were in their home they only talked about themselves( how they met, got married and ended up at lipscomb) & the ONLY question that we were asked was our transformation coming to lipscomb. A couple of women answered the question but they sugar coated it. They said any other questions that we may have can be emailed to the advocate for the Latinos and that a second meeting may be held. Also we don’t have an advocate on campus, the only African American advocate we had, no longer works here. The only advocate available to us is the advocate for the Latinos. They claim to have funding for minorities, BUT you have to live up to the expectations of a typical Black family to even get the 1000$.There is NO FUNDING for just us black students. #share
“[President Lowry] asked why there was cotton on the table as the center piece,” she wrote. “His response was that he didn’t know, he seen [sic] it before we did, he kind of thought it was ‘fallish’, THEN he said ‘it ISN’T INHERENTLY BAD IF WERE ALL WEARING IT’ then walked off. Later on all of us that were there were invited into the home, and we had the impression that we were coming to speak about how us as Black people feel about Lipscomb. The whole entire time we were in their home they only talked about themselves( how they met, got married and ended up at lipscomb) & the ONLY question that we were asked was our transformation coming to lipscomb.”
Lowry has since publicly apologized for the offense and welcomed more dialogue surrounding the topic.
“The content of the centerpieces was offensive, and I could have handled the situation with more sensitivity,” he wrote. “I sincerely apologize for the discomfort, anger or disappointment we caused and solicit your forgiveness. I have heard from a number of students who would like to spend more time together engaging in conversation. I am most pleased to do so either in small groups or individually.”
Read the full post below.