The president of Lipscomb University in Tennessee invited an all-African-American group of students for dinner and had centerpieces in his home that were made up of cotton stalks.
President Randy Lowry reportedly hosted the dinner to discuss their experience at the university. Students arrived to find centerpieces made up of cotton stalks at the tables.
The move by Lowry was deemed offensive by students.
A student, who only identifies herself as Nakayla, who attended the dinner shared the offensive experience on Instagram.
“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 saw cotton as the center pieces. We also stood and ate dinner, there were no seats to sit in and it felt very uncomfortable,” Nakayla 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.”
After the incident caused furor on social media, the president apologized for his behavior in a Facebook post.
“Last night we invited Lipscomb African American students to our home for dinner to discuss their experiences at Lipscomb. Several students shared with me their concern about the material used for centerpieces which contained stalks of cotton,” the statement read.
The statement further read, “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.”
Facebook users refused to accept the apology and criticized the president for the atrocious act.
“They served cornbread and collard greens. And had cotton plants as the centerpiece when the guests were invited specifically because they were African American. Yes. That's offensive. And to overlook that was poor judgment,” said a commenter.
While another wrote, “This was not right and extremely offensive in many aspects.”
Banner: Reuters, Rick Wilking