Columbia Mayor Addresses CIU Faculty and Staff
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin advised Columbia International University faculty and staff that now is a good time to listen and learn.
Benjamin offered the guidance ahead of the 2020-2021 school year at the invitation of the CIU administration following a lunch with city leaders over the summer regarding race relations in the community.
“It is time to learn. We don’t know everything. We all have biases,” said Benjamin, who is African-American. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to listen.”
Benjamin did some listening while sitting in the grass with protestors on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds during Columbia protests that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Nothing is benefitted from people yelling at each other,” Benjamin told the CIU gathering. “We need to move dialogue forward.”
In a Q&A with Benjamin, CIU President Dr. Mark Smith noted that the university will begin the school year with an enrollment that will about 35% African-American and embracing an approach of “listen and learn, so we can love and lead well.”
When Benjamin was asked what faculty and staff could pass along to students this school year, he said to remind them that, “in this great country, we have rights enshrined in our Constitution, but with the rights “also come responsibilities.”
“You have rights, but you have to act on them in a way that pushes us toward being a better nation,” Benjamin said.
BestColleges.com ranks Columbia International University the 2020 Best Online College in South Carolina, and CIU is #2 in the state for Best College Campus. CIU also consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Request information on enrollment at CIU and Columbia Biblical Seminary or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.