March 27, 2018 – Acting-President, Bishop Jim Dunlop refers to an upcoming meeting with Black students in a staff meeting as follows: “I feel like this [situation at the Seminary] is like the Israelite’s who wanted to return to Egypt because the watermelon is better.” Multiple official complaints are filed by staff and students present in the meeting.
On the evening of March 27 Jim Dunlop attends the Urban Theological Institute meeting in which the students whom he had earlier disgraced address their concerns to him and an additional Board member for (at least) the fourth time.
It is important to note here that the 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. As of July 2018 many complaints against Jim Dunlop had been 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.
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. 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