Addressing Recent Incidents of Racism and Intolerance on Our Campus

Dear Berea College Students, Faculty and Staff,

Responding to incidents of drive-by racism and homophobia that have been occurring over the last several days on the roads through campus, some members of our community attended this evening’s City Council meeting to express grave concern.  The Administrative Committee has also decided to make a statement regarding these incidents.  We share it with you below and will be submitting it to the Berea Citizen for publication as well.

Lyle Roelofs
(For the Administrative Committee)

Letter to the Berea Citizen

Dear Berea Citizens:

Founded in 1855 by ardent abolitionist John G. Fee, Berea College stands today as a testament to the power of love over hate, and the belief that God, indeed, “has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”

This past Homecoming Weekend, as members of the College celebrated our Berea experience with friends, family, and alumni, many of our students, particularly students of color and non-heterosexual students, experienced several instances of overt hate from the occupants of vehicles flying large Confederate flags, who shouted racist and gendered slurs at our students.   These hateful actions frightened and disturbed not just the students they were aimed at but also other students who witnessed these examples of intolerance.

We at Berea College recognize each individual’s right to free speech and the right to fly the flag of one’s choice on personal property. We do not, however, recognize one’s right to intimidate, stereotype, or invoke fear into the hearts and minds of the young people whom we bring to educate here in our community. We ask that the great citizens of this community stand with us against hate, and allow our students to feel safe as they live, walk, eat, and play in their home away from home.

Thank you to those who are willing to stand with us.


President Lyle Roelofs
Jeff Amburgey
Chad Berry
Virgil Burnside
Huapei Chen
Bernadine Douglas
Rebecca Parrish
Derrick Singleton
Linda Strong-Leek
David Tipton
Teri Thompson

Categories: News, People
Tags: Mission, racial Justice, Social Justice

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.