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SEWANEE: Outraged Diversities List 10 Demands following Revocation of Rose Honorary Degree

SEWANEE: Outraged Diversities List 10 Demands following Revocation of Rose Honorary Degree
Vice-Chancellor McCardell's hardened resistance and shamefully long delay in revoking Charlie Rose's Honorary Degree incites enriching demands from the student vibrancy coalition

By David W. Virtue, DD
April 3, 2018

Students riled up about Sewanee University's failure to immediately revoke the honorary degree given to serial sexual molester Charlie Rose, have come out with a list of stereotypical demands calling upon the university to create a new general education requirement, increased transparency in the Board of Regents and strengthening social diversity on campus, among other demands.

"We spoke up, now we demand action, The Leadership Coalition for Speak Up Sewanee, told The Sewanee Purple, the student-run newspaper.

The coalition set out 10 demands which included allowing all student and faculty trustees be allowed to "sit in" on all Regent meetings and that the Regents publish regular reports to the community regarding their decisions.

The chair of the Board of Regents, Joe DeLozier (C'77), commented to The Purple, "I support better communication between Regents and all Trustees and pledged to the Trustees when I took office to always issue a report of our proceedings and have done so. I have attended Trustee meetings along with other Regents to foster that rapport. All of this will continue to be done."

"I have reached out to many student groups and faculty during my tenure to seek guidance to improve this University. I will continue to do so. All of the upper level administrators issue reports to the Regents at each meeting," he continued.

DeLozier said that he will propose to the Regents at their next meeting that student and faculty trustees issue similar quarterly reports, and he will ask the Regent "mission fulfillment committee" to "make further suggestions for improving student communication between meetings so that our time together may continue to foster progress."

"I respect the rights of an individual or group to civilly express their opinion. In the end, we are all on the same Mountain and the same team. I believe it is time to move forward listening to each other with renewed energy and action from students, faculty, staff, and town in order to make us a stronger community," DeLozier concluded.

Without explanation, the students did not ask for Vice Chancellor President John McCardell to disclose the links between Nashville's leading cosmetic surgeon, Regent DeLozier, and former Regent Jon Meacham, prominent and powerful Nashville and Sewanee resident.

Meacham hired John McCardell as University President in 2010.

McCardell put Meacham's fellow Nashvillian on the Regents in 2013. DeLozier was a Regent when the nomination of Rose for a degree was received, approved, and awarded in 2016. DeLozier was Chairman by 2017.

The students also kept hidden their interest in knowing who had nominated Charlie Rose for his degree.

During the Charlie Rose weekend at Sewanee in 2016, Jon Meacham was again dominating Sewanee news with highly visible high promotion of media celebrity Rose at Sewanee. Meacham interviewed Rose for a published video.

The University bookstore helps Meacham financially profit from his Sewanee leadership role by selling his expensive books on campus.

Other items on the list of entertaining demands include requiring annual bystander intervention training, the construction of a University Student Commons, the hiring of a full-time person of color counselor and a crisis intervention counselor, more accessibility to crime statistics, an improved process for reporting hate crimes and recommitting Sewanee to Episcopal directives.

Which color the person of color must be is not specified.

The demands do not define who represents a color, or what a person of non-color looks like who represents colorlessness and therefore should be discriminated against in the hiring process for the new position for a color.

VOL suggests that McCardell ask Presiding Bishop Curry for the race rules of Beloved Community and the definition of the colorlessness of certain people groups who are disqualified from working at Sewanee solely on the basis of their race and being unjustly stigmatized for having too many wrong privileges.

The first demand on the Leadership Coalition's list explains their idea for a new general education requirement involving the study of diverse groups of people so that students can better understand systems of privilege and their own identities. The list includes several possibilities of classes currently offered at Sewanee that could form a part of this new requirement.

In his response to the list of demands, Vice-Chancellor John McCardell expressed concern regarding who the senders of the list "claim to represent."

"I might begin by suggesting that 'demands' and things that will be 'required' do not strike me as the best way to initiate discussion of serious and, in some cases, quite complex questions," McCardell told The Purple. "In some cases, discussions likely leading to action are already under way."


One demand in the list calls for a rewrite of the current appeals process "to shift power from the Vice Chancellor to a diverse committee of experts." The list identifies McCardell as possessing "full control" over the final outcomes of Honor Code and sexual assault cases, stating that therefore individuals "can cheat responsibility for their actions by virtue of their -- or their parent's -- positioning in society." The Coalition demands that professors and deans from diverse academic backgrounds should advise and have "equal affect" [sic] on such outcomes.

"First, we need to understand what if anything is wrong with the current process and whether there is a broad consensus within the community that it has in some way failed us," McCardell said regarding this item of the list. "Certainly, there needs to be some understanding of why the current practice is flawed. For example, going back at least to 2012, not a single appeal of a sexual misconduct violation has been upheld. How would changing the appeal process change such outcomes going forward?"

"Furthermore, and this is critical, because violations of University policies can often involve litigation, participation in the process should (at least principally) include those who are ultimately responsible and accountable for how those policies are carried out. Finally, in many cases non-academic violations require as much confidentiality as can be managed in a small community. The more individuals involved in these often quite sensitive matters, the more confidentiality is put at risk," he added.

In regards to cases under the Honor Code, McCardell stated that only the student body could change the Code and its appeals process, and such a request would be better directed towards the Honor Council.

"This does not mean that I am not open to such changes. But it does mean that I, and the broader campus community, would need to be convinced that there is, first, a consensus that our current practices are in some way flawed (and it seems to me the standard there should be outcomes) and, second, that whatever might replace the current process possesses comparative advantages (which need to be articulated) over the status quo," McCardell said.

In their demands, Speak Up Sewanee emphasized their concerns regarding injustices within the Sewanee community. "Moving forward, a diverse Leadership Coalition of students will work within an intersectional framework to give power back to the people," the list read, and the students involved hope they are paving the way for a leadership group that will continue to advocate for students after its current members graduate.

Speak Up Sewanee's List of Demands:

As stakeholding members of the Sewanee community, we call upon the University of the South to: include the following courses, but are not limited to:

1. WMST 220 -- The Politics of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights

2. WMST 111 -- Introduction to LGBT Studies

3. IGDI 101 -- Intergroup Dialogues

4. POLs 209 -- Immigration, Politics, and Identity

5. AFST 150 -- Introduction to African and African American Studies

6. WGS 100 -- Introduction to Women and Gender Studies

7. WMST 251 -- Black Masculinity in the United States

8. WMST 340 -- African American Women's Short Stories

9. AMST 351 -- Toni Morrison

10.POLS 161 -- Multiculturalism and Equality

11.POLS 210 -- The Politics of Poverty and Inequality

12.POLS 214 -- Democracy, Dissent, and Revolution

13.POLS 441 -- Gender, Violence, and Power

14.EDUC 226 -- Teaching Children's Literature

15.ENST 304 -- Community Development and Rural Appalachia

16.SPAN 389 -- U.S. Latino and Latina Literature and Culture

17.POLS 315 -- The Politics of Social Welfare Policy

18.POLS 346 -- Contemporary Social Movements

19.ENGL 207 -- Women's Literature

They further required students to maintain a healthy level of social diversity and student leaders to actively address issues that affect the campus as a whole.

VOL's research reveals that Speak Up Sewanee is intimidated by Sewanee's imposed "civility." If Speak Up Sewanee had wanted to be taken seriously, they would have pushed like the students at Howard University are pushing right now- demanding resignations and full disclosure of salaries.

Why didn't Speak Up Sewanee demand to know how much salary and bonuses McCardell was getting paid by Sewanee to not revoke Charlie Rose's honorary degree when all knew it was the right thing to do?


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