April 17, 2018 Rev. Pat Davenport shares with Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton in Chicago at the Domestic Mission Unit forum concern over the lack of attention to racial tension at ULS, specifically the unrest spurred by Bishop Dunlop and faculty member’s racist comments. Highlighting the “watermelon” comment and the racist words of Dr. Krentz, “I am a racist” which were hurled in a class with one African Descent student, who was compelled to leave the setting.
It is important to note here that the “watermelon” statement made by Jim Dunlop and the complaints that followed have been investigated by a human resources firm hired by the Board of Trustees. This is not the only incident in which complaints against Jim Dunlop have been filed, but it is one that is most widely known among the students.
This timeline went through an extensive vetting from April of 2018 through the present to ensure that it is true, and it was shared with ULS leadership routinely from April through September. As of July 2018 many complaints against Jim Dunlop were now substantiated and reported to the board. Yet Jim Dunlop still retained his seat on the board without acknowledging why many in the ULS community found his presence problematic to reconciliation and moving forward. It is only after this timeline was made public (Oct. 10, 2018) that Bishop Dunlop resigned from the ULS Board of Trustees. Rightly contextualized, Bishop Dunlop’s actions may be seen as both an individual’s acts which are also part of the ongoing systemic issue of racism specific to ULS. Many of the proposed policies in the ULS Policy Survey seek to address these ongoing systemic issues in the ULS community. This announcement is part of the timeline of racism at United Lutheran Seminary