Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Triad of Terror at the University of Evansville

The Triad of Terror – Three Instances of Being Black at the University of Evansville.

My alma mater. The University of Evansville (UE).  The past 4 years has seen a series of events where black students have faced a fog of harassment and discrimination.  Attempting to wade through the fog resulted in one black female fleeing the environment at the University of Evansville.  A second student was suspended and banished from campus.  And now in a non-student event, the black head basketball coach of UE, who had been placed on administrative leave while an investigation occurred, was fired.  I have labeled these events “The Triad of Terror”.

In the first case, a black female student was active in the university’s theater department.  As a freshman student in 2016 she became the target of offensive remarks made by a UE professor.  The student came forward to file a complaint.  Doing what we are all taught.  Work within the system to resolve problems.  Unfortunately for some reason the University did nothing to support the student or punish the offending professor, so the student left the university environment that was causing her mental anguish.  Then in the year 2018 the student went to the legal system for relief.  The legal system outside of the university’s control.  That effort on the student’s part mobilized UE to take an appropriate action against the offending professor who has since been terminated from employment with the University.

In the recent firing of the UE basketball coach the University put out the following statement; "There is no place at UE for any behavior by any University employee or student that jeopardizes the safety and security of others."

This brings up the case of Jalen Chestnut.  Who up until the Fall of 2019 was a student at UE.  In the Spring of 2019, Jalen had begun sharing the Gospel on campus in an area designated for free speech.  Some non Christian elements at UE did not want to hear the truth and the Word spoken on campus. One of those elements was a professor at UE.  One day this tenured professor made a derogatory gesture towards Jalen while Jalen was speaking.  For some the gesture could also have been taken as being threatening in nature.  But….."There is no place at UE for any behavior by any University employee or student that jeopardizes the safety and security of others."  

The professor remains employed and it appears he was not disciplined for the offensive behavior.  Jalen was suspended from UE and banished from campus after he chose to continue speaking and sharing the Word.  Yes, he was doing so in an area that the university had ruled off limits after instituting a new policy.  The punishment could have been mitigated to a lesser penalty.  But, the environment at UE apparently doesn’t condone a black male, with strong religious beliefs to make a stand for what he believes in.

The details regarding the firing of the UE coach for off-the-court misconduct have not yet been revealed.  Considering how UE has given the benefit of the doubt to other university employees who misbehaved, one can only wonder if the same criteria was used.  Of course, we all know that race doesn’t matter, right?

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