A University President Is In Hot Water Over Some Very Offensive Centerpieces

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Randy Lowry, the president of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee is facing backlash from a student dinner he hosted. Lowry invited African-American’s to his house for a soul food party but they weren’t impressed with the cotton stalk’s used as centerpieces.

Nakayla, a student at Lipscomb posted about the incident on her Instagram. In her post she wrote about the awkward night at the president’s house. The dinner was for the African-American students at the predominately white college, “As we arrived to the president’s home and proceeded to go in we seen cotton as the centerpieces,” Nakayla wrote.

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She then wrote that there were no seats at this dinner and everyone had to stand and eat. “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.” Nakayla then went into detail about the Latino dinner the president hosted the night before.

At the Latino dinner they ate tacos and the cotton centerpieces were not present the night before. When the president was making his rounds at the African-American party he stopped by Nakayla’s group and her friend asked Lowry why he chose cotton as the centerpiece. He said he didn’t know and claimed it to be appropriate for the fall season, she then wrote that Lowry went on to say, “‘It isn’t inherently bad if we’re all wearing it’ then walked off.”

Her post has garnered so much attention that Lowry has had to released an apology statement. In the statement Lowry recognizes that the cotton stalks were problematic. “The content of the centerpieces was offensive, and I could have handled the situation with more sensitivity,” he wrote.

Lowry is right, there does need to be more discussion on campus about this matter and the African-American students who are enrolled. Clearly the event was uncomfortable for them.

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