Clemson Reacts to Deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner- UPDATE

UPDATE 12/3/14: Clemson students are planning a “die-in” on Thursday, December 4th at 5pm on Bowman field near Tillman Hall.

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UPDATE 12/2/14: Clemson’s Chief Diversity Office is sponsoring a Campus Wide Dialogue on December 3rd from 7:30 – 9:30 pm in the Palmetto Ballroom of the University Union. Students will be able to discuss their feelings about the Ferguson decision, as well as Clemson’s current campus climate. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

On November 24th, the Ferguson grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. Protestors have responded in Ferguson, while others have organized movements in other cities, towns, and Universities. Clemson students and professors joined with their own peaceful protests.

unnamedOn November 25th, students marched from the Hendrix Center, across library bridge, and to Bowman Field in a protest of the Ferguson decision. Students, clad in black, stopped for 4 1/2 minutes of silence in honor of Michael Brown. The Tiger Newspaper covered the event.

Later, two students on the Clemson University: Class of 2015 page asked that Clemson students wear black to the Clemson vs USC football game to mourn Michael Brown and “fight peacefully against this injustice”. According to the online flyer, the “blackout” is a joint effort between Clemson and USC.

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However, the students’ posts were met with massive amounts of both support and criticism. There were roughly 160 responses on each post. Both supporters and critics engaged in heated debate, and personal insults were thrown from both sides. One especially vocal student wrote responses such as, “I’m not wearing black for that criminal”, and implied that it is “typical” for African-American people to be unintelligent.

In turn, a supporter implied that he would have a talk with said student’s boss about his comments. “You still work at wingin it?”, he wrote.

Many students disagreed with the action because they did not want to wear black to a USC game. One student wrote, “You sir are fucking stupid. This is a Clemson game we wear orange. Take your bull shit somewhere else”.

Another student wrote, “Not everyone should be supporting this. If your message is justice, then where were these black shirts throughout all other sensitive cases? Nowhere. I do not stand for Mike Brown. I’ll stand for justice and peace when we decide black isnt the standard for it”.

The original poster responded after several dozen comments: “It’s amazing to me that colors are more important to everybody here than what the actual act symbolizes. I asked for your support, not your opinions. Those that will support will. Those that will not, won’t. It’s over. Thank you”.

Another student responded, “I’ll wear black for any young man who loses his life. Criminal or not. White or black”.

Professors also responded through video coverage and protest. Communication Studies professor Chenjerai Kumanyika has visited Ferguson multiple times to document the protests and citizen responses. He hosts frequent livestreams from the Ferguson protests and recently participated in a peaceful protest at a Walmart in St. Louis.

While his livestreams are popular, Professor Kumanyika has received negative responses and emails to his work.

When discussing the responses on his social media account, Professor Kumanyika stated, “I have faith that as long as I continue to produce quality research, teaching, and service (not sure if this counts as service), then I will be given the same opportunities as any other professor”.

As protests and movements continue across the country, the students and professors of Clemson continue to participate in turn.

 

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