*Several black students at predominantly white Lipscomb University in Nashville recently attended a dinner hosted by the school’s president, where organizers thought it was a good idea to decorate the table with cotton-stalk centerpieces – complete with cotton balls placed within the branches.
An offended student shared a photo of one of the centerpieces on Instagram, with a lengthy caption in which she also expressed irritation with the stereotypical soul food menu choice of macaroni and cheese, collard greens and corn bread – particularly in light of Latino students dining with the president 24 hours earlier, with a menu featuring tacos.
In footage featured in the IG story below, a black student is seen asking President Randy Lowry why cotton centerpieces were being used for their dinner. “His response was that he didn’t know,” IG user NakaylaYvonne explained in the caption. “He kind of thought it was ‘fallish’, THEN he said ‘it ISNT INHERENTLY BAD IF WE’RE ALL WEARING IT,’ then walked off.”
Read and watch below:
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
After word of the cotton stalk centerpieces got out on Thursday, President Lowry followed up by sending an email to the Lipscomb community, apologizing for the incident and acknowledging that he could have “handled the situation with more sensitivity.”