Coastal Carolina students demand to hear opposing side after BLM leader speaks on campus

Conservative students at Coastal Carolina University defied convention Tuesday by holding a demonstration objecting to a speaker, but demanding only to hear the opposing side, as well.

Jacob Seay, Chief of Staff for the Coastal Carolina Conservatives (CCC) student group, told Campus Reform that the group found it “utterly deplorable” that a prominent Black Lives Matter activist had been invited to give the keynote speech at an event honoring civil/human rights activist Ella Baker.

Janaya Khan “has openly posted on her Facebook page about killing white people, and is a prominent member of a movement that uses harsh anti-law enforcement rhetoric and condones violence to further their divisive cause,” Seay asserted, saying such views are not representative of “what Ella Baker stood for.”

In a post on the CCC Facebook page the morning after the event, the group elaborated on its position, explaining they believe that Khan was a “divisive” choice given the strong feelings that the BLM movement inspires across the political spectrum.

“The elements who hosted this event could have invited many other prominent leaders who reflect Ella Baker's values,” the post points out. “Instead they invited a member of a politically charged group that uses anti-Law Enforcement rhetoric and has done nothing but divide America further.”

Accompanying photographs from the protest show a group of students standing within a cordoned-off area marked as being “reserved for the Coastal Carolina Conservatives demonstration,” several of whom are holding signs bearing messages such as “There are 2 sides to every story, let us tell ours!;” “We support law enforcement / thanks for keeping us

Another photo, taken by local ABC affiliate WPDE, shows a solitary counter-protester with a message of his own scrawled boldly on a whiteboard: “Times change, can you? Black lives still matter.”

Deborah Perkins, an Associate Professor of Sociology at CCU and the Director of the Social Justice Research Initiative, defended her decision to invite Khan, telling WPDE that “Janaya's work very much parallels that of Ella Baker in many different ways, because both of them fought and, are fighting for, social justice and transformation of basic inequalities that exist in our world.”

CCC Chairman Cody Fongemie, however, countered that the school could have invited a different civil rights leader to address the forum who is not associated with advocacy of violence against law enforcement officers.

“Why didn't they look for other civil rights leaders?” he asked. “Why did they have to choose someone from a movement that's politically charged right now?”

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