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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Susannah Bryant ’16 responds to Samhat’s statement on the recent executive order

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As a recent graduate of Wofford College (class of 2016), I would like to make known my support of the statement issued by President Nayef Samhat. The statement’s emphasis on Wofford’s inclusivity and welcome of all races and religions is and should remain as a cornerstone of our beloved institution. No executive order should alter the college’s efforts to make every student, faculty member, staff member, visitor and neighbor feel welcomed, comfortable and safe. The President’s statement does nothing to polarize the college’s nonpartisan standing, nor does it stifle anyone’s freedom of speech, for showing kindness to all people is not a stance belonging to one party or the other, and welcoming new voices into the community does not silence those already there.

For the past five months, I have been working and residing in Lusaka, Zambia. For the first time in my life, I am beginning to gain an understanding of what it feels like to live as a foreigner, an outsider, as someone who is obviously and visibly very different. Though my privilege as a white American will follow me wherever I go, I now understand some of the challenges faced by all people living within a culture that is predominantly different than their own—the challenge of being judged solely on their appearance or their passport, the challenge of having their personal opinions shape others’ understanding of their entire culture, the challenge of feeling homesick and alone. And yet, immersing myself in such a cross-cultural setting has taught me so much about another way of life, about how to share thoughts and ideas, and about how beautiful experiencing sorrows and joys with my new friends and family can be. Though my time here has greatly challenged me, I’ve been fortunate enough to feel continuously welcomed and wanted. I can’t imagine living here without the effort made by my community to ensure that constant feeling of welcome. Without that welcome, neither I, nor my community, would be gaining any of the amazing benefits of cross-cultural interaction. Without that welcome, neither I, nor my community, would be broadening our horizons, learning and building invaluable relationships.

So, while the President’s statement is only that—a statement—and must be followed up by action after action within the Wofford community to support and bring this welcome to life, I firmly believe that this is a step in the right direction. Let us all do our very best to encourage the welcome of every person that steps on the Wofford campus, knowing that we will all be better for it.

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Sincerely,

Susannah E. Bryant

Class of 2016

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