Clark Terry Jazz Festival Racial Incident

Friday, March 22, 2019


For many years, the University of New Hampshire has hosted the Clark Terry Jazz Festival on its campus. The event brings dozens of middle and high school jazz performing groups to campus every year to celebrate African American music and one of the most important musicians and educators in jazz history, Clark Terry. This year during the festival, a racist image was sent via Airdrop to some visiting students of color from out of state by another visiting student. After a long investigation by the UNH Police in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, the source of the offensive blackface image was identified as a high school student from out of state. The recipients of the offensive email were understandably distressed. The university has been working closely with the high school of the students who were victimized as well as with the high school of the student responsible for sending the image. In addition, the high school the offending student attends will not be eligible to participate in the festival next year.

While no UNH faculty, staff, or students were involved, our community shares in the distress caused by these racist images. Despite our continuing efforts, students of color on our campus still experience indignities and offense to personal identity. We do not shrink from our responsibility to address them. Racism has no place on our campus, in this state, or in this nation. This work requires our constant attention. Our future depends upon the strength of our commitment to inclusivity and equity, and the collective we will muster to address any threats to either.