A Tennessee university president is under fire after the decor and menu selections at a dinner held exclusively for Black students went viral.
The event, hosted by Lipscomb University President Randy Lowry on September 14, was only open to Black students in an effort to foster communication between the school’s officials and minority students.
Everything was brought to light after an Instagram user named Nakaylavonne posted a video with a caption detailing her discomfort.
“As we arrived to the president’s home and proceeded to go in we seen cotton as the center pieces,” she wrote. “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. The night before Latinos also had dinner at his house and they had tacos. They also DIDN’T have the center piece that we HAD tonight,” she wrote.
She also mentions that Latino students were invited to have dinner the night prior and were served tacos.
But she went on to say that aside from the menu selection and decorations, Black students were looking forward to sharing their thoughts on diversity, inclusion and funding for minority students, but the moment never came.
Lowry wrote an email apologizing for the insensitivity after multiple students voiced their concerns. His full statement was later shared in a Facebook post.
“The content of the centerpieces was offensive, and I could have handled the situation with more sensitivity. I sincerely apologize for the discomfort, anger or disappointment we caused and solicit your forgiveness,” he wrote. Lowry also said he welcomes continued conversation on the subject.
Lipscomb University is a majority white institution where white students account for more than 76 percent of the undergraduate population. Black students make up 7 percent, Hispanic students make up less than 7 percent and Asian student less than 3 percent, according to CollegeFactual.com.