Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Yesterday, Dr. Kerry Pannell (Provost) and Dr. Will Harris (Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council) released a statement on behalf of the college about the events leading up to the women’s lacrosse game on Friday, Feb. 11. I wanted to share my own thoughts and provide a progress update on PC’s path forward.
The racist, misogynistic, and hateful behaviors exhibited by individuals on the day in question are an abomination. They have no place anywhere in civilized society, let alone at PC. Numerous students, faculty, staff, and alumni have contacted me to express their outrage, utter embarrassment, and disbelief that such behavior can even happen today on our campus. I concur. PC resolutely and unequivocally condemns all forms of racism, misogyny, hatred, and discrimination. We value and respect the dignity and self-worth of all individuals.
We also must remember that the actions of a few reflect on the campus as a whole. The fact that some of our students felt sufficiently comfortable, privileged, and empowered to undertake such deplorable and hateful actions is a clear sign of the significant work we must all do to continue building a more equitable and inclusive campus for all community members and visitors.
Our hearts hurt for our visitors from Howard University. They also hurt for women and people of color in the PC community, many of whom have told me they feel less safe on their own campus because of the actions of select students. We, as a community, stand with them and are committed to their safety and ability to flourish.
While it is proper and right to express outrage and to apologize for wrongdoing, we will not confuse apologies with action, accountability, and meaningful progress toward living our values. Accordingly:
- PC has engaged independent counsel to conduct an investigation to ensure the most efficient, thorough, and accurate gathering of facts and documentation of findings. We are committed to an expeditious, thorough, and fair process and to severe consequences for individuals found responsible.
- Effective immediately and until further notice, students and spectators planning to watch Presbyterian College athletic events in person must enter the athletic venue and sit in the designated fan seating areas. Adjacent areas surrounding athletic venues are off limits prior to, during, and after athletic competition. This policy includes the area commonly known as “Hoseville,” outside of Bailey Memorial Stadium. The policy covers all areas outside the PC Baseball Complex fencing, including between the PC Baseball Complex and the fraternity houses and along the outfield wall. At the Templeton Center Tennis Courts, spectators must remain on top of the hill near the bleachers. At the PC Softball Complex, students must enter the complex and stay in the designated fan seating areas. If you witness inappropriate behavior, immediately notify a member of the event security staff or contact PC Campus Police to allow them to address the situation immediately.
- Please stand with and lift up our brothers and sisters who are left hurting and feeling less safe in their own community as a result of last week’s events. PC offers students free in-person and virtual appointments and confidential counseling with our licensed clinicians through our counseling services office. Simply contact the Counseling Center at 864-833-8263 or email@example.com. For staff and faculty, the Employee Assistance Program offers free counseling services. For more information, call 855-775-4357 with company code RSLI859.
Working together, we will hold ourselves accountable, make meaningful progress toward realizing our ideals, and make PC a more uplifting and welcoming place for all community members and campus visitors.
Matthew vandenBerg, EdD, CFRE
Professor of Education
503 South Broad Street, Clinton SC 29325