In a letter issued to the local media, a group of Dillard University students identifying themselves as “Socially Engaged” released the following statement, expressing concerns about David Duke’s scheduled appearance on campus.
We, Socially Engaged Dillard University Students (SEDU), write to urge you to withdraw Fair Dillard as the location for WVUE and Raycom Media’s hosting of the U.S. Senate debate that will include Neo-Nazi Klansman David Duke. His presence on our campus is not welcome, and overtly subjects the entire student body to safety risks and social ridicule.
This is simply outrageous.
We are aware of the importance of this upcoming election, however, we cannot and will not allow this disrespect and continuance of racism and oppression on a campus we call ours (the black community), where we are educated to respect ourselves and our disciplines, and to which we pay a hefty tuition and fees. We are also aware that you have been hearing our concerns and issues with David Duke, the New-Nazi KKK Grand Wizard, and we have heard your response that Dillard “must” honor its commitment to WVUE and Raycom Media.
Dr. Kimbrough, respectfully, this response is specious. You are the President of a Historically Black College whose mere presence is anathema to EVERYTHING David Duke promotes. Instead of denying the presence of this terrorist onto our campus, you have ASSURED HIS SAFETY by Dillard University armed police, AGAINST US, your Dillard University student body. We write to you today not only to express our hurt and shame, but also to fight for our ancestors and their struggles. How dare this administration stand for Duke’s “safety” and not fight for our security and right to learn in a healthy space.
This debate is CLOSED to “the public,” i.e., all Dillard University students, yet Duke’s followers will be given free rein to enter and roam our campus. If you insist on allowing these individuals’ entry to our school and our home (on-campus students, specifically), it is imperative that you implement the following actions throughout the day of November 2, 2016:
All non-permitted (official, up-to-date, parking decal) automobiles are required to park off campus. We DEMAND our safety.
A lottery process to include a minimal number of 150 members of the university’s student body to be in attendance of the debate. A debate should NEVER be closed on a campus; a place deemed prestige in debate.
A strong statement by Dillard University officials condemning the violent, oppressive history of the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party in which Duke is affiliated (because administration insists that he is a “former” or “ex” member). As students, we need to feel that our administration, as a whole, supports our values and legacy.
Clearance by the University for students to conduct an on campus protest on the day of the debate, at a specified location, at 5:00 pm, with members of the general public allowed to attend the debate.
Yield all funding paid to Dillard University by WVUE and Raycom Media to host the debate to events planned by students in response to the impact of racism on politics. We want to use their funding to educate our community and ourselves.
The lives of many future Black lawyers, politicians, social workers, chemist, doctors, nurses, and teachers are being put at risk by allowing this terrorist, Neo-Nazi Klan member to enter our space, and our BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Socially Engaged Dillard University Students