Racism LBC 9.jpg

Jeremy Patterson listens to Aleah Tyson during the a protest seeking to hold Lancaster Bible College accountable for their legacy of institutionalized racism and implement restorative justice in the form of anti-racist policies for the protection of BIPOC students, staff and alumni on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

Protesters made up of mostly Lancaster Bible College students called for racial equality and for the college administration to make changes to address harm they say was — and still is — being perpetuated through the school’s curriculum and campus culture.

Just over two dozen people lined the sides of Bible College Drive Tuesday afternoon chanting “no justice, no peace," and displaying signs with slogans like, "You can't pray racism away."

The protesters made their claims through a petition they sent to Thomas Kiedis, president of the school, and other officials. More than 500 people have signed a petition that Pilisa Mackey started three weeks ago, some of which are students or alumni.

Mackey, a senior at Lancaster Bible, was one of the protest's organizers. She held a sign that read, "Would Jesus ignore his students?" It was one of many religious-themed signs on display during the protest.

One of the driving factors for protesting on Tuesday, she said, was to shine light on active racism at the school.

Her experience with lack of equity at the college pushed her to switch majors and move off campus, Mackey, who is Black, said. She’s getting her education entirely online now.

School officials responded to the criticisms via email.

"Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School values people as created in the image of God and worthy of respect and dignity," read the statement. "Sadly, the college has at times fallen short of extending that dignity and respect."

Mackey claims she was subjected to “tokenism” by her professors while on campus and said hundreds of alumni and current students still face that problem.

A Lancaster Bible College student also recently wore blackface in a June TikTok video, Mackey added. The petition calls out the school’s lack of response for recent blackface incidents and lays out six demands that Mackey and the protesters would like to see met by the end of the month.

College officials are "currently engaged in a careful and thorough audit, examining the extent of our shortcomings, to correct these failures both personally and systemically," the school’s statement read. "We do and will continue to address our failures in these areas while seeking forgiveness when necessary for our shortcomings."

Blanding Watson, president of the Lancaster NAACP, was one of five speakers at the protest. Watson extended an invitation to school officials and said the NAACP is “actively reaching out to LBC.”

College officials, however, say they have not yet been in touch with Watson.

“I’m here to support the concerns of the students,” Watson said.

Here's the full statement from Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School:

"Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School values people as created in the image of God and worthy of respect and dignity. Sadly, the college has at times fallen short of extending that dignity and respect. LBC | Capital is currently engaged in a careful and thorough audit, examining the extent of our shortcomings, to correct these failures both personally and systemically. As an institution we condemn racist, discriminatory, and prejudicial actions by any member of the college community that minimizes fellow human beings. We do and will continue to address our failures in these areas while seeking forgiveness when necessary for our shortcomings.  When racist actions involve students, disciplinary proceedings are protected by law, and the college is unable to discuss specifics. Moreover, as a practice, we do not utilize social media as a forum for resolving personal grievances related to this or any other topic. Ongoing information on LBC | Capital’s diversity audit is available at lbc.edu/diversity."


Read more: