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USC Aiken responds to coach’s comments on Black Lives Matter social post

University of South Carolina Aiken
University of South Carolina Aiken(WRDW)
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 10:32 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The University of South Carolina at Aiken is taking action after learning of the comments that head baseball coach Kenny Thomas made about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thomas has spent 20 years with the Pacers and during the 2010 season, he became the winningest coach in USC Aiken baseball history.

In a statement, Dr. Sandra J. Jordan, chancellor of USC Aiken, responded,

"Words simply cannot express my disappointment of a publicly known university member who last night posted a remark on a personal social media page that seemed to be intolerant of the Black Lives Matter movement.

His expression was a personal opinion and does not reflect the values of this university, Pacer athletics, or our community.

While the university is committed to helping individuals learn how to think, we cannot tell them what to think. Of course, the beliefs and ideas of individual members of the UofSC Aiken community will often and quite naturally conflict. It is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.

Nonetheless, I am writing today to speak out against intolerance and opinions that stand in sharp contrast with our stated values of civility, tolerance and mutual respect. The comments of one individual will not undermine the committed work of our university and our commitment to social justice, racial equality, and a belief in the nobility of all people. Black Lives Do Matter and history has taught us that change happens when people stand together to end systemic discrimination and enforce the core principles of diversity, inclusion, justice and liberty. The university is taking appropriate personnel action with this matter. The posted remarks stand in sharp contrast with the work being done in offices across this university by men and women who are committed to diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equality.

For students, faculty and staff who have feelings of angst, hurt, and pain on this matter, please know that there are resources for you to contact. These include the UofSC Aiken Counseling Center, www.usca.edu/counseling-center or 803-641-3609; our Office of the Ombuds at https://www.usca.edu/ombuds, or 803-641-3237; and our Diversity Initiatives Office at https://www.usca.edu/diversity-initiatives, or 803-641-3442."

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