President Crouch addresses racial tension in campus-wide assemblyBy TORI BACHMAN-JOHNSON
Earlier this week, President Crouch addressed the recent atmosphere of racial tension at Georgetown College in a campus-wide assembly.
On Monday, Feb. 14, students, faculty, staff and members of the Georgetown community gathered in the Chapel as President Crouch described the steps being taken in response to recent events on campus.
Two weeks ago, Freshman Tevin Lloyd reported that a member or members of the Kappa Alpha fraternity called him the “N” word during one of the President’s House Association’s boxer runs. He also reported receiving threats of bodily harm.
Following this incident, “hateful graffiti” was found in Anderson Hall and “hostile remarks” were made in a classroom setting, according to an email from President Crouch.
“The college takes full responsibility for not being fully prepared for this situation,” said President Crouch. “We own the problem. The problem is ours. It is no one else’s.”
President Crouch told the audience that the KAs are being held responsible for the displaying of racially insensitive material and “for conduct that has led us to this place today.” The fraternity has been put on probation by the college, and every member is required to complete diversity sensitivity training. President Crouch also warned that “any other incident this semester could very well result in their chapter being removed from campus.”
The KAs also made a public apology on Monday. The college will continue its investigation into the racial incident with expediency, but President Crouch stated that the process will not be rushed.
“We are dealing with facts that are not clear,” he said. “We have to make judgments based on facts that we have, and sometimes the facts that we have are ambiguous.”
He asked that any student with information about this or other incidents would come forward, adding, “It is the truth that will set you free.”
“We are not after people. We are not about punishment,” he said. “We are a place of grace and a place of justice. Our objective is to get to the truth so that we can grow and we can move on.”
Aside from consequences for the KAs, the college’s response to the racial incidents includes the establishment of the Presidential Hotline for students to report acts of racial intolerance, as well as added security on campus. The Georgetown Police Department has been present on campus to ensure students’ safety.
Furthermore, the Executive Cabinet approved an addition to the Student Handbook. Any student issuing any racial slur to another person will be adjudicated immediately and be given one of three outcomes based upon the hearing – 50 hours of community service in a place where sensitivity can be enhanced, suspension or expulsion.
President Crouch is also establishing a task force to “examine our current college culture and climate.” The group, composed of trustees, students, staff, faculty and important members of the Georgetown community, will attempt to discover if the recent racial events were isolated or if similar events have occurred and been overlooked. They will examine the college’s acceptance of all people and report back to President Crouch in 45 days.
A forum for students, faculty and staff, sponsored by the Student Government Association and Ambassadors of Diversity, will be held on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Fred Smith, a professional mediator from Texas, will facilitate the discussion in order to prevent bias, and students who attend will receive NEXUS credit.