The SCC Files: And NOW a word from El Presidente

Quite a kerfuffle has erupted on the campus of Sandhills Community College here in beautiful Moore County at the onset of the 124th US Open.   Fliers suggesting that the Moore County Chamber, Moore County Schools, Moore County Economic Development Board, and Sandhills Community College (among others) will be sponsoring a DEI “training event” led by a nationally-renowned DEI agitator began making the rounds.

Soon, it became clear that no one wanted to take ownership of the event.  The chairman of the Moore County Board of Education went public about the event – suggesting that the school system’s name and logo were not authorized to be used in promotional materials. 

It didn’t take long for Sandhills Community College president Sandy Stewart to speak up via an email to the school’s trustees.  Of course, we obtained a copy:

Upcoming Event with Moore County Chamber

There has very recently been some questioning and negative feedback of a planned symposium titled “Cultivating Excellence: Shaping the Future” to be presented by Raven Solomon on the Sandhills Community College (SCC) campus. The symposium is part of annual Talent Symposium event planned by the Moore County Chamber with support from SCC Workforce Continuing Education, the Southern Pines Land Trust, and the SCC Small Business Center. The intent of the symposium is to create dialogue and understanding of multi-generational workforces and is an outgrowth of desired feedback, based on surveys, from businesses in Moore County which participated in last year’s talent symposium. Ms. Solomon has presented in front of many groups and is generally considered to be a thoughtful person on these matters.

Unfortunately, due to a combination of wording in a press release and perception of the chosen speaker the symposium is being framed by some as a “DEI workshop”. […]

Why would people think such a thing?  Could it be that the speaker  IDs herself as a DEI speaker?


Could it be her promotion of “representation” as an “antidote to unconscious bias”?

Could it be her desire to ban words such as “blacklist”, “blind” and “straight” for being insensitive and “non-inclusive”?

Here’s more from El Presidente:

[…] In actuality, the symposium is planned to cover the multi-generational aspects of today’s workforce. As stated above, this was requested by participants from the business community in feedback from last year’s symposium. The speaker chosen has conducted these workshops for several groups, including the NC Chamber. I reached out to the NC Chamber over the weekend and was assured they did not have any negative feedback from her presentation and would highly recommend her. We plan to move forward with hosting the symposium.

Larry and I know this decision and our path forward will be criticized by some, possibly even some on this board. This symposium is designed to address the fact that we now have as many as five generations in the workforce, regardless of any other characteristic. The business community has expressed a desire to workshop this multi-generational aspect of the workforce. It is regrettable the symposium has been framed by some as a “DEI Workshop” with all of the possible negative connotations associated with the term. It is not designed to be such, but instead is designed to be responsive to what the business community in our community has communicated they need and want. […]

Seriously.  What part of “the business community” (The Pilot, maybe?) wants the nonsense she preaches?


[…] For its part, Sandhills Community College is an open access institution which serves all of Moore and Hoke County, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexuality, or any other label. Our citizens have a choice to attend as a student or take part in any number of events open to the public. The college works very hard to support our students and community in a variety of ways. Many of those are specific to some student demographics. Others, as in this case, are businesses which request certain programming. SCC will continue to be a place which is open, reflective of, and supportive of all citizens of our community. Characterizations of SCC as either indoctrinators of a radical agenda on one hand, or repressive and not welcoming of all students on the other hand are false and grounded in a desire for a narrative and not fact. SCC does not have a DEI Program. As I communicated at your February meeting, that program has been re-focused to provide outreach to our community and support of students. […] 

Why is the same woman who ran your DEI office now running this “re-focused” office? (Specifically, how is this “refocused” office different from the now-vanquished DEI office?)   Is it a concern that she promotes herself as a DEI fan all over social media?

A survey of the web page for this “refocused” department at the college shows that it is still focusing on many of the same things it did when it was openly called DEI. 

I think Ms. Solomon, the proposed guest speaker, hit the nail on the head in this interview.  She talked about how you can simply change the name while still doing the work of DEI. I, and many others, believe that’s what’s happening at Sandhills. 


[…] The terms ‘diversity’, ‘equity’, and ‘inclusion’ have become lightning rods for controversy. Individually, their definitions are laudable, relevant aspirations.Taken collectively in today’s climate, ‘DEI’ is framed by some as desperately needed in a rapidly changing world, or by others as a divisive initiative which is detrimental and has no place in institutions of education or business. The organizers of this symposium were motivated by feedback from the business community in Moore County and a genuine desire to provide value to our community by fostering greater understanding of the multi-generational aspect of today’s workforce. The detractors are deeply concerned about DEI and view it as a divisive construct which they believe promotes certain groups over others. The opposing views are so divergent that they cannot agree on the very definitions of the terms and discourse unfortunately devolves into rancor and hyperbole from all sides.

While we cannot stop the culture wars from being fought, Larry and I believe the college should not be the battleground. It is our intention for the college to serve all students and our community. Our very mission is to “provide the highest quality education to all we serve.” We will neither indoctrinate nor turn our back on students who need help.

As a final note, SCC is underwriting the cost of the symposium through a grant obtained from the NC Community College System. This expense was approved by the system office. Unfortunately, Larry and I were unaware of this effort and press release before it was made public. I am taking steps to address that as I have an expectation of senior staff to be more aware and provide awareness of sensitive topics. That is now a personnel matter and I will refrain from further comment.

As always, this is for your information. Please do not ‘reply to all’ in order to avoid conflicts with the open meetings law.

Best Regards,