More than twenty students gathered around the campus seal in Stamps Courtyard at California Baptist University Oct. 9 to highlight the actions of two CBU students who were shown in a video pouring a drink on two men who chose not to stand during the national anthem, as well as pray for the individuals involved and the university.
Two female CBU students are seen in a Twitter video dumping tea on the two men sitting during the anthem at a preseason Los Angeles Lakers game Oct. 4 at Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario. The video was uploaded by one of the women with a caption reading, “‘Take a kneel (sic) for the land of the slaves.’ Disrespect the flag and our country and this is how we’ll react.”
One woman could not be reached for comment the other declined to comment for publication.
The 20-second video, though deleted by the original user, received national attention from news sites and many social media users including Shaun King, writer and civil rights activist. Lecrae, hip-hop artist who performed at CBU Sept. 4 replied to King’s tweet by stating, “Cowardly.”
Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of CBU, sent an email Oct. 9 to faculty, staff and the student body stating, “The despicable behavior displayed in the recording of the incident is an extreme departure from the positive Christian values that are central to the culture of California Baptist University and does not represent the vast majority of CBU students, employees and alumni.
“I assured (the CBU Board of Trustees), as I assure you now, that we are actively and deliberately pursuing the due process investigation that began several days ago to determine appropriate actions in response to the incident.”
Students involved in the campus gathering said they believed action needed to be taken to highlight the national misrepresentation of CBU through this incident.
Leti Bernard, senior journalism and new media major, organized the gathering on Twitter.
Bernard, former editor-in-chief of the Angelos yearbook, said, “I’ve seen people commenting, ‘Oh, is this how Christians are and what the school represents?’ and that’s not true. I’m a black woman, I go to CBU and I’m a Christian. I do not agree with the action (of the two women students) so it was extremely necessary to talk about what happened.”
Other students who participated in the gathering also said they believed the actions of the two women did not represent the university or their own faith.
“We just want everyone to know spiritually and legally, CBU will not stand for this,” Anthony DeVeaux, freshman civil engineering major, said at the gathering. “It wasn’t a good representation of who we are as a whole and we’re here (at Stamps Courtyard) to prove that.”
Staff members who did not actively plan or participate in the gathering at CBU said they stood by the students to show their support.
“I want to support the students and how they’re feeling,” said Jay Stovall, director of New Student Programs. “It’s so important, whether or not people necessarily agree with (the students) being here and doing this demonstration, for me, as a staff member, to show that I’m here to support them and understand what they’re feeling.”
During the peaceful 30-minute gathering, other staff members said they believed prayer was the best way to represent the university.
“They were representing Christ-likeness because they stood out here, they prayed for the situation and asked the Lord to help (the students) walk in the way that reflects who Christ is,” said Bernard Dafney, resident director of Colony East apartments. “As a Christian university, I don’t think we could ask for anything more.”