The following was written the morning of Sunday, Feb. 19, by a concerned student who wished to remain anonymous:
In February, many different things are celebrated: American Heart Month, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, as well as Black History Month. Every year, Andrews University makes it a point to bring awareness and to celebrate Black History Month on this very diverse campus. This Black History Month, with its forums and places for safe conversation, has also brought unplanned difficulties that are in the process of being addressed.
Over the last few weeks Andrews University has been facing issues pertaining to race in greater volume than usual. It was no secret that the Black History Chapel that occurred two weeks ago left some students feeling enabled and empowered, while leaving others feeling uncomfortable. Following this chapel, a series of complaints were made to University Administration via phone calls, emails, as well as in person. At the following week’s chapel, Provost Christon Arthur, while noting that the chapel was perceived very positively by some students, made an apology to the students, families and alumni who were offended by the Black History Chapel.
For some of the students who felt enabled and empowered the Black History Chapel, this apology was offensive. Between the time the apology was made to that of the “N-word” forum on Saturday afternoon, a group of students as well as some faculty made a video asking for a change to be made at Andrews.
By now, most of us have seen the video, “#ItIsTimeAU,” but for those who haven’t here is what is being asked for. Not only is an apology by university administration for past and present racial discrimination at Andrews University being requested, but a formal written apology that will be available on the university website. The video also requests a manifesto which mandates diversity training for all faculty and staff, which ensures that faculty and staff reflect the diversity of the student body, which creates classes that teach curricula from non-Eurocentric perspectives, and that professors and worship leaders are not allowed to demonize the style of worship traditional to the black community.
The video requests that the administration’s apology should be addressed not only to current black students at Andrews University who have been offended and discriminated against, but to black alumni who also have raised grievances against Andrews University in the past.
The question now is whether or not there will be an apology, and what actions on the part of university administration will respond to the issues raised by the “#ItIsTimeAU” video. We wait with baited breath and hope for the best.