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Student Quits Winthrop University After Writing Race Column

Student Quits Winthrop University After Writing Race Column

The student who wrote a controversial column about race for Winthrop University’s student newspaper last month has left the school.
Christine Byington, 20, says she filed paperwork to leave after considering her options.

She told The Herald, Rock Hill’s local paper, that her leaving “had more to do with how my whole semester was going” than the severe reaction to her column published recently in The Johnsonian, the student-led weekly newspaper.

In that column, Byington, who is biracial, criticized minority scholarships and organizations devoted to Blacks. She says equal treatment should be given to all races.

The university, which held a forum so students could discuss the column, urged Byington to reconsider her decision.

“Winthrop University is strongly committed to being a campus where troubling issues can be discussed openly from all perspectives,” the school said in a statement. “We hope Ms. Byington will reconsider and rejoin this community and that conversation.”

Johnsonian editor in chief Rebekah Woodson says Byington will be missed.

“I admire her on a peer level,” Woodson says. “She’s an extremely intelligent woman. … I hurt for her, from one student to another. If I were her, I would question going to school here as well.”

Byington says she might come back to Winthrop next semester or next year. She says she had a tough class schedule this semester and the demands of the newspaper and two campus organizations had been distracting.

“Then this happened with the column, and I couldn’t handle it anymore,” Byington says. “I couldn’t focus at all.”

Senior Christina Alexander says she disagreed with Byington’s column, but respected her for writing it.

“I still admire Christine for what she did,” Alexander says. “I just wish she’d employ some of that same courage by staying on campus.”

Associated Press

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