The plans were first announced this weekend at the DEEP (Diversity Educational Exchange Program) Retreat which brought together students and administration of Oakwood and Southern. The news comes at a time of heightened calls for bridge building and integration in Adventist America after a history of racial division struggles across institutions, churches and conferences.
“We are no longer living in the 1960s when lines had to be drawn between a black Oakwood and a white Southern,” said Oakwood University Relations representative, Clive Williams. “It’s time we mixed things up.”
“It’s high time Adventist education caught up with social progress in the United States,” said Southern spokesperson, Darla Russell. “Adventism has for decades been mired in the segregationist policies that plagued our country’s history but we are turning the page.”
Although the institutions will officially merge for the 2015-2016 school year, both campuses will remain fully operational while sharing best practices and resources. “For too long now, Southern has enjoyed exclusive access to unfairly low Little Debbie snack pricing. Unity University will make sure that students across our two great institutions are equally empowered to put on the freshman 15,” joked Williams at the DEEP Retreat announcement proceedings.
“We would be the first to admit that Southern’s graduation ceremonies are drier than Ezekiel’s bones,” said Russell to applause from Oakwood and Southern student attendees. “We look forward to learning from Oakwood. They shame us every year. People actually turn up to their graduation.”