Furman University is currently investigating Dr. Healy's presence at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 after videos and pictures of him at the event surfaced on social media. In an email addressing the matter on Sept. 30, President Elizabeth Davis indicated that there would be "opportunities to process these events" the following week.
The University hosted two community dialogues last week, one for students on Thursday and one for faculty members on Friday.
At the event on Thursday, students expressed concern with aspects of how the University has handled the situation. Facilitators Jocelyn Boulware Bruce and Dr. Claire Whitlinger addressed questions and engaged in discussion with students. At the beginning of the dialogue, the facilitators noted that they were not able to comment on personnel matters and confidential conduct procedures.
Many questions from students focused on university communication surrounding Dr. Healy. Students asked about the timing of President Davis' email on Friday Sept. 30. Facilitators explained that Davis' email was sent late at night because administration wanted to address the situation in a timely manner.
Students also asked about why the email about the community dialogues from Vaught Crowetipton, Associate Vice President for Spiritual Life, was sent a day before the session for students took place. According to Crowetipton, the short notice was not intentional, given the administrative layers involved in University communication through email. Crowetipton explained that administration must balance efficiency as well as thorough review when it comes to communication, and that this process can be challenging.
Throughout the meeting, students expressed feelings of distrust in faculty and administration, which was a sentiment especially emphasized by students of color. Students discussed wanting transparency about what information has been discovered about Dr. Healy. Students inquired about the hiring process, policy and campus safety in the midst of the investigation and the University's decision making about Dr. Healy's employment status.
During the conversation, Whitlinger and Bruce assured students that their frustrations and grief over the circumstances involving Dr. Healy were understood. At the conclusion of the dialogue, Franklin Ellis, Director of CIC, asked students how communication can be strengthened going forward. Students requested more conversation, transparency and emails.
Reporting contributed by Nath Kapoor and Stephen Turner.