Editor’s Note: We regret the use of the phrase “companion piece” in an earlier version of this story. We regularly post on our website and in social media commentary or media mentions of Furman faculty, staff, students and alumni as a way to celebrate their work and ideas. Our intention in posting Justin King’s op-ed was to ensure that we provided the same opportunity for his commentary, even if it pointed out areas in which our university must improve, including how we address racial justice. Without sharing the content of Justin King’s op-ed, the Greenville Journal invited President Davis to submit a column to run in the same issue, and the publication made the decision to run them together in its printed edition and on its website. We offer this only as an explanation, understanding there is much we need to learn and do to be a better university.
In a guest column in The Greenville Journal, Furman University President Elizabeth Davis wrote, “As much as we must teach empathy and citizenship, universities have a duty to acknowledge and take action against racism – with humility and the understanding that we have much to learn and can only do so by listening to those who directly experience racism.”
Although Furman has taken significant steps to address institutional ties to slavery, segregation and injustice, recent incidents of racism across the country “remind us that we need to do so much more. We must confront this moment with empathy and a spirit of caring, but also with conviction and a call to action,” Davis wrote.