Hours after racist graffiti was discovered on Spring Hill's campus on the morning of October 26, SHC president E. Joseph Lee, Ph.D. sent out an email to the entire SHC community of faculty, staff and students. Below is the email in its entirety:
Dear Spring Hill College Family,
For the past 192 years, Spring Hill has prided itself on living out the Jesuit principles upon which we were founded. St. Ignatius Loyola taught us that our mission and purpose go well beyond academic learning. Our talents, abilities, physical attributes, personalities, desires, hearts, faith, and minds are all equally worthy of care and attention.
Earlier today, our administration was made aware of some intolerant graffiti that was painted on one of the walls outside New Hall. Besides being shocking, shameful, and hurtful, this kind of language does not reflect who we are here at Spring Hill and will NOT be tolerated under any circumstances. An investigation has been launched and the perpetrators will face the full extent of the consequences of their actions.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Those who may be aware and stay silent contribute to this behavior and, in essence, condone these egregious acts. We encourage those of you who may know something to report it to Res Life or Public Safety.
This shameful act is wholly unacceptable. We pride ourselves on being the first institution of higher learning in the state to admit students of color, and the first in the state to have an African American graduate. We actively remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commending us in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Our students confronted and ran the Ku Klux Klan off the campus.
While the times may have changed, Spring Hill’s commitment to Social Justice has not. We are proud of our legacy, but we cannot rest on our laurels of the past. We must continue to pursue values, ethics, and the development of moral character. This is who we are and who we will continue to be. I challenge each of you to search your hearts. If this is not the direction you want to continue then perhaps Spring Hill is not the place for you.
For those of us who are committed, cura personalis is the call for you and me to love ourselves and others: the entire person, the entire gift of life from God given to us.