February 20, 2018
To the Board of Trustees at the University of the South:
Whereas, there have been several excellent responses to the disastrous response penned by four members of the Sewanee Board of Regents regarding the presentation of Brickson and Murdock requesting the revocation of the honorary degree bequeathed on Charlie Rose, my classmate and I are compelled to respond further, and to urge the Trustees to take action. The Regents’ response underscores the sad fact, that even in the twenty-first century, Sewanee is a place where women’s voices are still not valued, and that in this instance, Sewanee has sent the message to its students that a man and his “accomplishments” are worth more than the women who testified to his admitted abuse of power. It is as if the University has proclaimed loudly, and in unbelievably condescending terms, “…ladies, you are on your own…” and has proved beyond argument that Sewanee is still truly a boys-only club.
Not only did DeLozier, Howard, McLarty and McCardell offer the most ridiculous and thinly woven theological interpretation of sins and sinners, but they dared to try and defend that interpretation through the Honor Code. If we are indeed speaking in terms of the Honor Code and defending those wronged by sexual assault, then DeLozier et al. are guilty by association. The Regents’ refusal to rescind the degree is tacit approval of Rose’s behavior. Any student who enabled a fellow student’s criminal actions on campus would also be held accountable under the terms of the Honor Code, would they not?
Therefore, it is incumbent upon the University to take this insinuated protection of an admitted criminal activity as seriously as possible. Rose’s credential must be revoked in clear and deliberate terms, and the signatories to the Regents’ letter – and any other Board Members who did not vigorously protest that response – should resign their offices immediately, and permanently. Only then will Sewanee begin to make things right for the hundreds of her daughters who have been so assaulted, gas-lit, harassed or otherwise degraded by men such as Rose, whether during their time as students on campus or in their lives after graduation.
Ecce quam bonum, et quam iucundum habitare fratres ET SORORES in unum.
Lauren Wilkes Stubblefield, C’98
Editor, The Cap & Gown, Vols. 99 & 100
Erin Grossman Otto, C’98
Business Manager, The Cap & Gown, Vols. 99 & 100