‘You said what you said’: former students respond to a University of Mobile dean’s offensive post about slavery

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Another controversial post was made by a local educator, this time a dean at the University of Mobile. A former student discovered the post and brought it to our attention, he shared a meme about slavery.

Students tell WKRG News 5’s Amber Grigley this comes just days after the university sent out a mass email about the university becoming more diverse.

For some, this post made by Dr. Al Miller was very surprising. Grigley spoke to one of his former students and she said she never thought that he would do such and thing, especially now during this fight against racism in America. She also said it’s time for the university to do more to assure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

“We didn’t have a large African-American student body or a lot of African-American teachers. I mean, why would you think that about other people. You know?” said Roya Ritchson, a former student at the University of Mobile.

Ritchson said she was at a loss for words when she came across Dr. Miller’s post, a meme about how younger generations should view slavery, made by her former professor at the University of Mobile. This prompted herself and others to express their concerns.

“He represents the school, as the Dean,” said Ritchson.

Ivana Andrews is also a former student who saw the post on Dr. Miller’s personal page. She said she’s been around Dr. Miller and his family many times. Andrews said seeing his post was a direct slap in the face.

“I wouldn’t feel that Dr. Miller is outwardly racist, but he obviously has some bias that he needs to address,” said Andrews.

In a statement sent to us from the university on the behalf of the President, Dr. Lonnie Burnett said in part, “Within an hour of learning about the post, our Vice President for Academic Affairs, on my direction, met with the Dean to discuss the seriousness of the matter. The Dean removed the post and reached out to the student and offered a personal apology. “

Ritchson said Dr. Miller did reach out to her via facebook to apologize, but she did not open it.

“You know, the time for an apology and trying to justify and all of that. You said what you said,” said Ritchson.

Also included in the statement the president believed, “that the sharing of this post was a matter of bad judgment.”

Andrews and Ritchson said Millers’ post came just days after the school sent out a statement about inclusivity and making the campus more diverse. Andrews said this was the university’s chance to put action behind their words and they didn’t.

“Just having him take it down and apologize for it, I feel like it doesn’t really address it. Because of him not having any repercussions I feel like it doesn’t address the issue,” said Andrews.

Amber Grigley did ask the university to clarify whether Miller would face any additional punishment or investigation beyond the discussion with administrators. She was told that this is a personnel matter and nothing would be released beyond the statement.

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