Open letter to Ashland University

March 7, 2021 

President Campo and Mr. Al King, 

A women’s basketball player received the following message this past weekend “Ashland is finally starting to win games without you ni**ers.” 

I, as a black student and black athlete, am shaken to the core by this message. This action, motivated by prejudice, cannot be called anything but a hate crime. There is no justification in this person’s actions or intentions. I will be awaiting your response and subsequent action to this hate crime. 

If you do nothing, you have made the conscious decision to be complacent. Once you have sided with complacency, to me you have given racism a steady home on this campus. If you send a campus-wide email and follow that up with half-hearted diversity training, to me you have made the decision to be performative yet again. In being performative, you are revealing that the protection of students of color is not included in your mission, vision, or core values. 

We have seen incidents like this before both within the athletics department and within the general campus community. Something has to change. A campus climate in which racially charged language and actions are taking place year after year is unacceptable. This racist climate, if left unchecked by the highest powers of the University, undermines the efforts of The Office of Diversity & Inclusion and all other groups that are working towards making Ashland an equitable and inclusive place for all students. 

Feeling the need to write a second letter irritates, angers, and disappoints me. Incidents such as this one do not make me proud to be a student or an athlete as Ashland University. If anything, they make me concerned for the future of black students and athletes. Shifting the culture of the institution should start before moments like these, but I hope this occurrence serves as a wakeup call for everyone on how much work is yet to be done.