Hold Lipscomb Leadership Accountable for Racist Actions Against Dean Brittany Paschall

Hold Lipscomb Leadership Accountable for Racist Actions Against Dean Brittany Paschall

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In August 2019, Dean Brittany Paschall, a black woman, started her job as Lipscomb Academy's first ever Dean of Intercultural Development. But in less than six months, the Board of Trustees of Lipscomb University reversed their commitment to equity and dialogue and caved to pressure from a vocal group of donors and parents, led by country musician John Rich, who expressed outrage at discussions on race and white privilege. Instead of standing up to its Christian values and standing with Dean Paschall in the face of harassment and intimidation, Lipscomb capitulated to an angry white mob, and effectively dismissed Dean Brittany Paschall from her position as Dean of Intercultural Development along with Lisa Bruce, Associate Head of School for Academics, and Greg Glenn, Head of School. This sends a hateful message to families and faculty of color and will have a chilling effect on educators in the classroom. 

In 1967, Lipscomb was sued by esteemed attorney Fred Gray for stealing assets from the Nashville Christian Institute, an African American prep school associated with the Churches of Christ. Decades after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the outline of the word “Colored” was still observable on bathroom doors. Most recently, President Randy Lowry made national news for using cotton as decoration during a dinner event with black students.  

Lipscomb desperately needs to learn that diversity without inclusivity, equity, and justice is tokenism. To begin to make amends for the way it has capitulated to an angry white mob at the expense of a brilliant black woman, Lipscomb should immediately publicly apologize to Brittany Paschall for the way it disregarded her feelings and personhood and attempted to intimidate her into quietly resigning from the position it hired her to fill. Furthermore, the Lipscomb Board and administration should undergo diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Also, Lipscomb should publicly, unequivocally condemn white supremacy and acknowledge the institution's role in giving a platform to injustice, discrimination, ignorance, and hatred. Finally, Lipscomb must work with faculty and families of color to develop a community agreement about how to move forward and what steps and systems need to be put in place for reconciliation, healing, and accountability.

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