Last year, the University of the South in Tennessee appointed Reuben Brigety II to be its vice-chancellor and president. Since then, he has been the target of persistent harassment.
While attending a church service at All Saints Chapel last weekend, Brigety addressed the issue, sharing how the on-campus home he shares with his family has been repeatedly vandalized by unknown perpetrators.
“They have trashed our lawn with beer cans and liquor bottles. They have left threatening messages on pilfered signs near our back door and they have taken measures to ensure that my family and I saw the indecent insults that they left behind,” Brigety said.
Enough is Enough
University leaders do not have information regarding the reason behind the vandalism but it has been reported to the school’s director of public safety.
Brigety tried to keep mum about the incidents for some time. He reached his breaking point, however, when a tequila bottle was broken near their front door after he had just gathered the campus community to mourn the death of Ava Hingson, a sophomore who had recently passed away due to a horseback riding accident.
“When that final insult — a liquor bottle dripping with conceit and contempt — was hurled at my family not hours after our community had commended our beloved Ava to the heavens, I knew that I could no longer be silent,” Brigety said.
“As a father who desperately loves his own children and as a husband who walks in partnership with his wife, I had to take a stand against the phantoms who continued to disrespect my family and our home in the dark of night,” he added.
In the same address, the first African American president of the university urged everyone to evaluate what actions are becoming of a Sewanee student. While he has forgiven the people behind the vandalism, he also said he will not tolerate it any longer.
University alumni began a petition to condemn what has happened and Laurie Saxton, a university spokesperson, said that campus-wide conversations about how to address such problems will start on Thursday.