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Tennessee college’s first African American president repeatedly targeted by vandals

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The first African American president of the University of the South in Tennessee has been repeatedly targeted and his home vandalized since taking charge of the university. 

Reuben Brigety II was appointed vice chancellor and president of the school last year before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Since then, he has dealt with bottles, cans and threatening messages in their yard, the Tennessean reported

Brigety addressed the issue during a church service detailing the experience of the vandalism and calling the school to move forward and be better. 

“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

Laurie Saxton, a spokesperson for the school, told the Tennessean it is not clear why these people are vandalizing Brigety’s home. 

Brigety did not speak up about the issue for months until a broken tequila bottle was left on their front door after a memorial service for a student who died at the end of last semester. 

“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. 

Brigety wants to start a conversation on their campus on how to address this issue. 

“It is up to us to decide who we are, what we will tolerate and how we will live together,” Brigety said. “I invite you to be a part of this conversation to reassert and reinforce what it means for Sewanee to truly dwell together in unity.”

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