Lipscomb University President Apologizes After Having Cotton Stalks as Centerpieces During Dinner With Black Students

The president of Lipscomb University invited African American students over to his Nashville home for dinner Friday, where he had cotton stalks as centerpieces. After the students deemed the tableware offensive, he issued an apology.

President L. Randolph Lowry, who is white, invited black students to his home for dinner to discuss their experiences at Lipscomb, according to a Facebook post. The students noticed his dinner table was laden with cotton stalks, which offended them, according to the post. Lowry apologized through a campus-wide email.

“The content of the centerpieces was offensive, and I could have handled the situation with more sensitivity,” he wrote. “I sincerely apologize for the discomfort, anger or disappointment we caused and solicit your forgiveness.”

Lowery invited the students over to discuss the school, which has a student population that is roughly 77 percent white, 7 percent African-American and 6 percent Latino, according to a diversity report. Nashville, where Lipscomb is located, is predominately white at 65 percent, with a 26 percent black population.

Amid controversies concerning confederate memorabilia in U.S. cities, Nashville rejected a proposal for the removal of a monument of former Klu Klux Klan leader Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest from its state Capitol Sept. 1, USA Today reported.

Multiple students confided in him regarding his centerpieces, the president stated. A conversation between himself and the students about the centerpieces is needed, Lowry said.

“I have heard from a number of students who would like to spend more time together engaging in conversation,” said Lowry. “I am most pleased to do so either in small groups or individually.”

So I attend Lipscomb university and as most of you know that is a predominately white school. Tonight AFRICAN AMERICAN students were invited to have dinner with the president of the school. As we arrived to the president's home and proceeded to go in we seen cotton as the center pieces. We also stood and ate dinner, there were no seats to sit in and it felt very uncomfortable. 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. A couple of minutes went by, the president was coming around and asking for our names and what our major was. He finally got to our table and my friend @kay_cyann asked why there was cotton on the table as the center piece. His response was that he didn't know, he seen it before we did, he kind of thought it was " fallish", THEN he said " it ISNT INHERENTLY BAD IF WERE ALL WEARING IT " then walked off. Later on all of us that were there were invited into the home, and we had the impression that we were coming to speak about how us as Black people feel about Lipscomb. The whole entire time we were in their home they only talked about themselves( how they met, got married and ended up at lipscomb) & the ONLY question that we were asked was our transformation coming to lipscomb. A couple of women answered the question but they sugar coated it. They said any other questions that we may have can be emailed to the advocate for the Latinos and that a second meeting may be held. Also we don't have an advocate on campus, the only African American advocate we had, no longer works here. The only advocate available to us is the advocate for the Latinos. They claim to have funding for minorities, BUT you have to live up to the expectations of a typical Black family to even get the 1000$.There is NO FUNDING for just us black students. #share

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