Claflin students hold sit-in protest, then meet with president, others
Nov 03, 2017
Students hold signs as they protest near Tingley Hall on Nov. 3. (Panther photo by Bradley Harris)
Students organized a sit-in at Claflin University Friday afternoon, Nov. 3, 2017.
The protest began in front of Tingley Memorial Hall, where students could be seen sitting and holding signs voicing their concerns. It then shifted to the Middleton Auditorium, where roughly 115 students met with university administrators.
The Claflin officials answered questions and addressed the students’ concerns. President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale said the communication that took place was a good thing.
“Students coming together and coming to the university and administration to share their concerns and their issues I think is a good thing,” Tisdale said. “In any organization, you have to communicate.”
“Where there are things that need to be improved, we would expect our students to come forward and do that,” Tisdale said.
Students lined up and one at a time and expressed themselves to university administrators. A list of concerns that students want addressed was compiled and included issues dealing with campus security, communication with faculty and staff, technology in dorms, and student inclusion in decisions made on campus.
William Fairfax, a sophomore political science and psychology major, was influential in organizing the sit-in.
“What sparked today’s protest was the announcement of the homecoming concert and students feeling as so they didn’t have any input to what was going on,” Fairfax said. Fairfax was referring to the Wednesday announcement of artists for the November homecoming concert.
Eric Bellinger, Tink, DJ Luke Nasty and Dammy 864 are the artists to perform during homecoming week from Nov. 12-19.
Fairfax said the protest was driven by the students as a whole and not the Student Government Association.
“This has nothing to do with SGA. It has everything to do with the internalization of the anger that students have had with the administration,” Fairfax said. “It finally came out this week, so we wanted to capitalize off what we had now because if you let it die down, people forget.”
Tisdale said the sit-in was a listening session and that listening is a part of visionary leadership. “Being able to listen is one of the attributes you want in a leader,” Tisdale said.
Tisdale said the administration gave feedback to the extent that it could, and he indicated officials would look into the issues outlined by the students.
“We want to have an opportunity to look fully and analyze many of the issues that were brought today,” Tisdale said.
“It is our promise that we will come back to the students and address their issues more fully,” Tisdale said.
Bradley Harris is editor of The Panther.