Published on May 17, 2016 by Philip Poole  
Leaders respond

Leaders of several of Samford University’s constituency groups have issued statements supporting the university’s response to racially insensitive images on a T-shirt ordered by one of the university’s sororities.

Official Statement

“This unfortunate incident does not reflect the mission and values of Samford University. The trustees, students, faculty and administration believe in the value of respecting all individuals. In life there are teachable moments, and this definitely is one. Through this situation, we hopefully will be a better and stronger community. We are one body and one spirit, and this incident will not break that spirit.”

Tim Vines
Chair, Samford University Board of Trustees

“The printing of T-shirts with racially offensive content by a student organization has been a very difficult and painful situation for the entire university community. Dr. Westmoreland’s description reflects humility and compassion for all involved while not diminishing in any way the sadness we have all felt because of the hurt caused to members of the Samford family. I am thankful for the strong leadership displayed by the Samford administration, the humble and contrite response of the students involved, and the spirit of forgiveness and desire for reconciliation that have been evident within our community.”

Todd Carlisle
President, Samford Alumni Association 

“As the details have unfolded about this story, I felt devastated. Having worked here for 10 years, this incident is completely inconsistent with Samford’s mission and Christian values. I have complete faith in Dr. Westmoreland and the rest of the administration, all working diligently to uncover how this could have possibly happened here. Dr. Westmoreland is completely resolved in his efforts to ensure that our ‘hearts, minds and actions’ are better attuned to racially sensitive issues in the future.”

David Luthin
Chair, Faculty Senate
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

“It was unfortunate that this situation happened and was communicated through some media outlets with intention to cause hurt. As cochair of the Staff Advisory Council, I want to thank Dr. Westmoreland for the way he handled the situation with efficiency and grace to ensure people were made aware that this did not reflect the views and values of the Samford Community. I also agree with Dr. Westmoreland that ‘as Christians, regardless of our origins, we know we are held to a higher standard.’ Let’s move forward from this stronger and more dedicated to communicate that higher standard to the students, faculty and staff of this great community we call Samford University.”

Glenda Martin
Chair, Staff Advisory Council
Administrative Assistant to the Dean, Howard College of Arts and Sciences

"Unfortunately, due to a critical decision made by a few individuals, the brand and legacy of Samford University has been challenged. We do acknowledge that there’s more work that needs to be done pertaining race relations, but the growth and inclusiveness since Dr. Westmoreland has been president continues to be first class. The administration and leadership within Samford has dealt and will continue to work through this with intentional conversations while birthing new opportunities. Ultimately, the formation to the Inaugural Samford Black Alumni Association two years ago sheds light on the foresight of our leadership.”

Isaac Cooper
President, Samford Black Alumni Association Board

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.