Vice-Chancellor Brigety announced that the University will launch a number of initiatives in response to a Board of Regents statement categorically rejecting the University’s past veneration of the Confederacy.

On Sept. 8, Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety announced in a letter to the Sewanee family that the University is undertaking a number of initiatives in response to a statement from the University’s Board of Regents that categorically rejected the University’s past veneration of the Confederacy. The University has committed itself “to an urgent process of institutional reckoning in order to make Sewanee a model of diversity, of inclusion, of intellectual rigor, and of loving spirit in an America that rejects prejudice and embraces possibility.”

Much of the knowledge about Sewanee’s history, including its past veneration of the Confederacy, has been gained from the work of the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation under the direction of Professor Woody Register, C’80. The Roberson Project was born out of a 2016 effort on campus to more deeply examine issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion. The six-year project began in 2017. See a research summary of the Roberson Project for additional context.

To make the University's commitment more explicit, Brigety named several initiatives including redoubling efforts to recruit and retain students and faculty from historically underrepresented communities, fostering curricular approaches to presenting the full history of the South, developing a truth and reconciliation program around race in the South, and appointing a campus commission to evaluate names and stories behind campus buildings, monuments, and places. 

“Today marks a pivotal moment in the life of the University of the South. With its historic statement, the Board of Regents has firmly rejected our institution’s past veneration of the Confederacy and the ‘Lost Cause’,” said Brigety. “As is always true about the best in Sewanee, we will embrace the opportunity with resolve, unity, and excitement about the promise ahead.”