Wake Forest Issues Apology After Racist History Is Uncovered

“I apologize for the exploitation and use of enslaved people”

Wake Forest University is the latest school grappling with charges of racism and a history of white supremacy.

Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University, issued an apology during the school’s Founder’s Day ceremony on Thursday Feb. 20, AP News reports.

“It is important and overdue that, on behalf of Wake Forest University, I unequivocally apologize for participating in and benefiting from the institution of slavery,” Hatch said during his remarks on campus. “I apologize for the exploitation and use of enslaved people—both those known and unknown—who helped create and build this university through no choice of their own.”

Although the history of the school was discussed, Hatch didn't address present day racial tension on the campus. A number of faculty members of the school received racist emails last year. These anonymous and threatening emails resulted in the school’s sociology department building being shut down and classes were suspended for a week.

RELATED: Gov. Cuomo Slams Syracuse University Leadership After ‘White Supremacist Manifesto’ Circulated Among Students

During the Founder’s Day ceremony, a few students participated in a silent demonstration, standing in recognition of the involuntary sacrifices of enslaved people and the impact slavery has on students today.

Sierra Deveaux, 19-year-old Wake Forest sophomore, told AP that Hatch’s apology resonated with her, but action must be taken to address current issues of racism on campus.

“They need to put action to their words,” said Deveaux. “Through policy on this campus, more transparency on how they go about condemning acts of white supremacy on this campus and making it clear that they do not support white supremacy and making clear through their actions that certain behavior is not OK and that certain behavior will have consequences, and actual, written-down consequences if this is to happen.”

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