Cardboard Obama Hung on Tree at George Fox University

I am very saddened by this news story. George Fox has a special place in my life, and it wasn’t long ago that was there.

At 7am on Tuesday morning, an effigy of Barack Obama was found hanging on a tree by some fishing line in the main courtyard at George Fox. Attached to the cardboard was a message saying “Act Six Reject”. Let me provide a little context.

  • Act Six is a program for inner city (mostly minority) high school students to attend high profile Christian liberal arts schools in the Northwest on full ride scholarships based on the student’s leadership potential. I remember students coming for visits and interviews during my senior year of college. The first year of this program was the first year after I graduated.

Because this story is tied to George Fox, I know that many people will begin to look down at the university for being anti-black, anti-minorities, and/or promoting white supremacy. I believe this could not be further from the truth.

  • While less than 20% of GFU students are minorities this does not replace the effort done for the university to be one that is respectful and caring towards people of all colors and places of the globe.
  • The multicultural department and club was always given chances to raise awareness whether it be in chapel or through various events. I know of few Christian colleges that made the kind of effort that George Fox has to be a multicultural campus and the Act Six program only enhances that.
  • The Act Six program is a step in the right direction for GFU and other colleges as well. The shot at Obama and the program by this act is ridiculous, at best.

It is my hope that this story will open up conversations around the campus amidst the students about race and bigotry, and will give George Fox University an even stronger desire to do more to become a campus of people from all walks of life.

Here is a video of university President Robin Baker addressing the campus about the incident. I really liked what he had to say.

Great thoughts from Jelani Greenidge and Eugene Cho.

Here is the statement released by the George Fox University student government team:

“We, the Associated Student Community of George Fox University, are greatly grieved at the display that was placed on our campus. The incident does not represent the student body, George Fox University, or the message of Jesus Christ. It is entirely against what we believe and practice. The heart of our intent is to maintain a strong and safe community where we value each individual regardless of race, belief, political position, or demographic. We believe this incident is not an accurate reflection of the genuine care and concern students at George Fox University have for each other.”

Does that statement resonate with you?