Twitter exploded on Saturday night, December 6th, when several Clemson students noticed a photo on Instagram of a group of Clemson students dressed as stereotypical gang members. The people in the photo were holding up hand signals that were apparently supposed to be gang signs. The party involved Clemson greek life students and was hosted by several Sigma Alpha Epsilon members. Members of several different sororities attended the event. Clemson University did not sanction the party, as stated by an email from President Jim Clements on Sunday morning. Clemson SAE has suspended all activities indefinitely.
Late after the news broke, around 3am, Clemson student Wallace Mack planned the #MerryCripmas protest- the details are pictured in the flyer. The event was planned remarkably fast, and despite the lateness, students began responding on Twitter.
On Sunday morning, students gathered on library bridge. Some volunteer students passed out pieces of paper and holiday cards that students could write their thoughts on. As the crowd grew, other students arrived with Starbucks coffee and passed it out to chilly protestors.
The original intent of the event was for students to march to President Clements’ house. However, President Clements appeared in the crowd and began conversing with students. As the bells rang for 10am and the fountains of the reflection pond lifted off, Mack and other students discussed long-term and short-term goals. Mack gathered the crowd, President Clements beside him, and began his speech to open the event.
As I was transferring the video from my phone to my computer, my footage of the speech was corrupted. Thankfully, Professor Chenjerai Kumanyika was there livestreaming the event, so you can see Wallace Mack’s opening talk at the 8:07 mark. The girl with the glasses on the left side of the shot? That’s me. Sorry, folks.
Below you’ll find video of President Clements fielding questions from students. The discussion was full of intelligent and thoughtful questions, so I encourage you to watch Professor Kumanyika’s live stream for the full event. I did have to whittle down my video considerably for the sake of brevity.
The bottom line that stemmed from the discussion- President Clements and administrators are currently working out how to respond to the party and those involved. Clements promised action and that change would come to the campus.
The Twitter hashtag #ClemsonCripmas is being used to discuss the event.