SWEET BRIAR, Va. ― A Sweet Briar College student has apologized for placing racial labels in a dormitory, saying she did not intend to hurt anyone.
The student issued the apology in a message sent to interim Sweet Briar President James F. Jones, who posted it on the private liberal arts school’s website on Tuesday.
Jones said in a statement that he and Dean Cheryl Steele met with the student Monday night after he received the message. He did not identify the student, who signed her message “Apologetic.”
Four labels were discovered on bathroom doors and a water cooler in Meta Glass Hall last week. Two labels read “White Only” and two read “Colored,” Jones had said earlier.
“My mission was to show others that words can still have an extreme impact, and the past still resonates with us all. While moving forward, we can never really shake the past. The past is a part of us and we are a part of the past,” the student wrote in her message.
She said she was trying to make a point but that her actions were out of line.
“I am hurting along with everyone else, although my pain does not matter. I am hurting, because I now understand how much I have hurt everyone else around me. I do not think that it is funny, I do not think that it’s a joke at all. What I did was abhorrent. I don’t think that anything that comes from my mouth can make up for all of the hurt that I have caused,” the student wrote.
Jones said Sweet Briar officials plan to hold a series of open dialogues for faculty, staff and students on moving the college forward.
“What lies now before the college is how best to learn from the past several, difficult days on campus,” he said in his statement.
He said the college also would take care of the student, who he said was idealistic and perplexed.
Could training in implicit bias be helpful at your institution?