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Schnatter holds an undergraduate degree from Ball State and was awarded an honorary doctorate when he spoke at commencement.
My name is Robert Miles and I am an alumnus of Ball State University (BS ‘16). During my time at Ball State I was incredibly involved on campus academically and socially. As someone who is proudly from Muncie, Indiana, I have always been extremely proud to attend and graduate from Ball State University.
While at Ball State University I worked in roles at the Office of Retention and Graduation and in roles with the Office of Student Life. While in the classroom and in my positions at Ball State University the ideas and standards from the Beneficence Pledge intersected tremendously! This contributed to me feeling welcomed, valued and supported at Ball State. The values from the Beneficence Pledge were instilled in me as a student so much that they constantly show up in my decisions, thoughts and actions as an engaged alumnus.
Last week I received an email from the Board of Trustees justifying the hurtful words that were used by a fellow Cardinal alumnus John Schnatter in an interview. In this interview Schnatter used the “N-word,” a word that has historically been used as a derogatory term toward Black people. A word that was used during the transatlantic slave trade, slavery, lynchings and Jim Crow era to belittle Blacks by white people. A word that I know Schnatter and Ball State knows is unacceptable.
However, Rick Hall who is the President of the Board of Trustees of Ball State University has stated that John Schnatter did not use the N-word in a “derogatory manner.” Thus, prioritizing Schnatter's intent over the impact, harm and trauma that he has caused to students, alumni, faculty, staff and future Cardinals.
The justification of the use of this word in anyway, shape, or form by a white man who holds a PhD from Ball State University is unacceptable and violates the Beneficence Pledge to act in a socially responsible way.
I am embarrassed to be a Cardinal and embarrassed to be a Muncie resident due to the decisions that you all made to uphold the decision to keep the name of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise.
Hate is not a Cardinal value and at this time I am asking that Ball State University does not name the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise after John Schnatter. I am also asking that Ball State University Board of Trustees reconsiders the the decision that was made and that they prioritize the harmed parties' thoughts and voices while doing so. Until this is changed, I will no longer donate to the university, nor will I recommend the university to any students, especially Black students.
-Robert Miles, class of '16