The following message from Interim President Stephen C. Osborne ’73 was sent to the student community on March 8, 2019.
This afternoon, many of you came out to the Cistern Yard in support of a rally organized by the Charleston Activist Network to protest the offensive social media video that circulated this week.
For all of those in attendance, your presence at the rally reflected your commitment to making the College of Charleston a safer and more inclusive campus. I – and the many faculty and staff also present – share in your outrage and in your disappointment. As an alumnus of this great institution, I know that this type of behavior does not represent who we are.
As the speakers stated so effectively, enough is enough. As an institution, we have to be better – better as a student body, better as a faculty, better as a staff, better as an administration.
As I listened to the students at the rally, I heard the pain in their voices and heard clearly their frustration. For many of our community, this incident feels like yet another weight of oppression, aggression and intimidation. I know so many are tired of reading more words – more words that just seem to ring hollow.
However, I can tell you that we, as an institution, are committed to addressing this type of behavior head on. We are taking action. We are following our Student Code of Conduct, which was updated to handle issues just like this. That being said, federal privacy laws limit the amount of information that can be shared regarding our ongoing investigation and its ultimate outcome. But, to be clear, the restorative justice process we have used in other incidents is not appropriate in this case.
But all of that is reactive. We have to be proactive so that this type of behavior doesn’t occur in the first place. We need for our campus community to know our core values and to live them. Because respect for one another – the thread that binds our core values – is what will bring and keep us together.
Stephen C. Osborne ’73
Interim President, College of Charleston