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Sewanee students use n-word

Sewanee students use n-word

Racism raises its ugly head once again at Sewanee. At a lacrosse game this past weekend Sewanee students used the n-word against the rival team from Emmanuel College. Just a month ago Reuben E. Brigety II, the first African-American vice chancellor (president) of the school revealed his home and his family had been subjected to abuse.

Washington Post:

Over the weekend, another incident rocked Sewanee. On Sunday night, Brigety disclosed that a few Sewanee students attending a weekend lacrosse match had shouted the n-word and other racist epithets at a visiting team from Emmanuel College in Georgia. The visiting squad included African American, Asian American, Native American, White and Latino men, Brigety wrote. The Sewanee roster appears to be mostly White.

“So pronounced were the shouted slurs in the third quarter that the game officials on the field ordered that Sewanee fans be cleared before play could continue,” Brigety wrote in an email to the campus community. He and the athletic director apologized to the visitors after the match and pledged to investigate. Exactly how many students were implicated in the use of epithets was unknown. Hundreds walked out of class Monday, Brigety said, to demonstrate against racism.


The university has asked students who made the remarks to come forward and identify themselves. Members of the university community also have been asked to identify anyone who made the comments.

Chattanooga Times Free Press (opinion)

Brigety himself, according to a school spokeswoman, “has not characterized the vandalism as either racially motivated, or not,” nor has any connection been made between the incidents at the president’s home and the racial epithets last weekend.

However, the president has mentioned the displeasure expressed over his desire to “lead the university in another direction” in the form of “respectful requests from dissenting alumni,” “pointed letters from disaffected parents,” “angry emails from passionate students,” “feisty phone call[s]” and “violent posts directed at me on various social media platforms.”

Exactly what his desire to “lead the university in another direction” means is unclear. However, the school’s Board of Regents did release a statement in September acknowledging the school’s “long entanglement with slavery, racial segregation and white supremacy.” And Brigety said that “by facing up to our past, we embrace the promise of moving beyond it.”

The University of the South (Sewanee) is owned by 28 southern dioceses of The Episcopal Church

Photo by Stacy Kranitz for The Washington Post


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Mary Lyons

This story is simultaneously surprising and not surprising! This is a sickness that really needs intentional work to overcome and if the hate is being SO blatantly expressed, then there is a lot more prejudice being harbored in silence. It’s time to do what I do when I confrint a really challenging, nast-to-face issue: climb up on the cross and hang on.

Eric Bonetti

Given that I had a college-aged parishioner at my former parish urge me in writing to commit suicide, I am not surprised at such ugliness.

Kevin McGrane

Seek them out and expel them immediately. We cannot tolerate this behavior at all.

Theresa J Phillips

This is an embarrassment to our church and the school. The home team should have forfeited the game simply for the poor sportsmanship of the school.

Dorothy Friedlander

I don’t see this as ‘an embarrassment’ or an isolated incident related to a sports competition but an exposure of a deep oozing ugliness that is present in our church-run university. The fact that people connected to an Episcopal-run school would feel free to vocalize such racial obscenities in public tells me there is MUCH more going on than it being an isolated “embarrassment.” Purging those who vocalized racist taunts will not solve the problem of racism within the confines of the school. It is shocking and requires a much stronger response than a search for the perpetrators.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dorothy Friedlander
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