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Wesleyan College retracts statement on student's social media posts, overturns her expulsion

The college says the student appealed and the Student-Faculty Judicial Board decided to overturn her expulsion

MACON, Ga. — Wesleyan College in Macon has overturned a student’s expulsion as well as retracted a statement it made about the student’s social media posts.

On June 4, the college posted on social media that it had expelled a student for allegedly posting racist content on her social media.

The school says the student appealed her expulsion and it was considered by the Student-Faculty Judicial Board. They decided on July 3 to overturn it effective immediately.

Wesleyan also says they received new information showing the student did not post the content in June.

They are now working to transition her back into campus life when the fall semester begins. “She has our full support,” the college wrote.

Here is the full text of the message from President Vivia Fowler:

Last month, Wesleyan issued a statement that it had expelled a student for allegedly posting racist content on social media. Today, we retract and repudiate the statement that this student posted the racist content that appeared in social media in early June.

On the morning we learned of the information, we launched an investigation and expelled the student that afternoon, giving her the right to appeal as provided in our policies.

The student exercised her right to appeal. On July 3, the Wesleyan Student-Faculty Judicial Board, comprised of two faculty members, two staff members and two members of student government, ruled in the student’s favor, overturning the expulsion effective immediately. The committee considered new information that we learned in the weeks following the student’s expulsion, which called into question the accuracy of the original information. This information shows that the student did not post the racist content in early June.

In reaching the decision to expel the student, we broke no rule or policy. But that doesn’t minimize our regret for her expulsion. Going forward, we will ensure that the student transitions seamlessly back into the academic year with a feeling of purpose and wellbeing on campus.

In addition, we will continue our work, particularly over the last few years, of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. We are proud of our diverse student body. We are one of the first higher education institutions to offer trainings and workshops on the harmful impact of white privilege. We recently created a Cabinet-level position of Chief Diversity Officer, who also serves as Assistant Dean for Equity and Inclusion. Even though we erred in judgment in the case of this particular student, that will not deter us from doing our part to denounce racism and hate and build an environment where mutual respect and understanding can flourish.

We must be better in how we think, communicate, and act. This passionate call for introspection is very much for the good. But with action comes the responsibility to make decisions rooted in careful analysis, sound consideration, open dialogue, and above all, fairness. Those principles help form the very core of higher education and scientific and cultural inquiry. There is no place for racism at Wesleyan College, and we take seriously our responsibility to combat that scourge across all aspects of our institution.

We pledge to do better. If you have questions or concerns about this matter, I hope you will reach out personally to me, President Vivia Fowler or to Vice President for Advancement, Andrea Williford for a conversation.

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