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We Disagree, But…

The Board of Trustees has decided wrongly in our opinion. We feel that this is just kicking the can down the road. The name will have to change sooner than they think, or the University will wither.

…We Had Significant Wins

We still won one three out of four of our requests. Most importantly, for symbolism, Lee will be excised from the University chapel, and portraits will no longer appear on diplomas.

The Board Must Be Mindful of the Future

The University's Future is Still at Stake

The Board Copped Out

Now What?

1.

Emphasize Our Wins

The name was only the most visible battle

We won all the down ticket requests. Lee remains only in the name. The University is ghosting him for a few dinosaur donors. First, his portrait will no longer appear on any diploma, which cause so much consternation a few years ago when the optional to omit it was requested. Second, Lee Chapel will be no longer exist in that name. Instead, it will now be University Chapel, following the University’s long history of renaming things (and a return to it’s actual pre-hagiography roots).

Finally, and most importantly, the Board committed to all the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality efforts outlined in the strategic plan, which we had long emphasized as more important in the long run than the name. This one is huge folks.

Space Mountain has been removed from Confederate Disneyland.

2.

Continue to Support the Students

They didn’t choose this

But they are the ones that have to live with it in the real world, and they were some of the fiercest and most fearless advocates for change amongst us.

We must stay connected to their needs and concerns, providing help and support in any way that makes sense, whether it be with logistics, our time and resources, expertise, or even just money sometimes. The didn’t really choose to be on the front lines, but were simply looking for the best educations that they could get with their sometimes limited resources.

Mentor them and most of all, listen to them and their concerns. They will often know developments before we do.

3.

Keep the Board Honest

Hold them to their words

While their letter announced the continuation of the current name using mental gymnastics that would impress even Simon Biles, it also included a lot of what we were asking for, including: 1. Committing to a more diverse board makeup, 2. continuing to align to their own strategic diversity, equality, and inclusion goals, and 3. Accelerating these things across the board.

In fact, we’ve already seen movement on the first point, which is heartening, and remain cautiously optimistic on the rest. We must commit to supporting these initiatives because, while not as in you face an issue like the name, they will have just as much impact on positive student experiences in the long run.

Expect more details on these things over the coming weeks as wheels are in motion to mobilize our group along these lines.

4.

Push the Board for Details

What exactly does the University stand for?

If, as the board posited in their announcement, the name Lee does not define the University, despite all cultural and outside inclination to read this as the case, what does the University stand for. What is its vision, its promise, its brand pillars if you will.

They have yet to articulate anything, aside from “not Robert E. Lee” and the baggage inevitably associated thereof. As you can imagine, our position is that if the University doesn’t provide some guideance on this, the market will continue to speak and the worst lots of our society will continue to attach themselves to what still remains as the largest Confederate memorial in the United States.

As we have shown, the market has been speaking and will continue to speak. And what it says isn’t pretty without some counter-narrative that has yet to be detailed. We must hold them their feet to the fire on this, or our initial, most gloomy predications will come to pass much more quickly than they even know.

5.

Continue to Educate People

Swell our ranks

Not Unmindful commits to continue our work highlighting where the University falls short of it’s stated approach. To that end, this site will live on as the base of a platform for collective action, along with our other digital properties and efforts. We truly believe that those that were undecided during this very public process can still be convinced to join us in holding to the board accountable.

Of course, we realize, there are those peers of ours that will not be convinced despite all our better efforts, for reasons that are sometimes very innocuous to those that must be battled tooth and claw. We will continue our dialogue with the former and continue to fight the latter.

To that end, we will continue to recruit interested parties to the cause here using the contact mechanisms on the site, the private groups online, and our forums. If someone in the University community indicates interest in what we are doing, bring them into the fold or at least introduce them. We are a pretty welcoming and diverse lot after all!

6.

Keep the Pressure On

We aren’t going away

In the lead up to the disappointing decision, we made the conscious decision to be polite and abide by their rules. The purpose of this site itself was, primarily, to show that our position was a credible one arrived at with love and concern for the University at its heart.

The last year has shown us the wisdom, and the folly, of this approach. To the goal above, we succeeded amazingly, while still falling just short of meeting all the goals we had laid out. Along the way, however, we also learned that our opponents were operating under no such self-imposed strictures. And the amount of vitriol that has been flung at some of us in that time is well beyond anything that anyone with any honor would bestow on a fellow alumnus.

With all that in mind, the gloves are now off. We are doing playing by their rules. We are done playing nice! You may have noticed this on some of your favorite social platforms in the six weeks leading up until the announcement as we started to crank up the pressure. Expect us to continue that pressure on the University until we reach our goals.

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