In the Loop

  • UGA Union Defends TA Against Racism Charges


    Irami Osei-Frimpong

    The UGA chapter of the United Campus Workers of Georgia is gathering signatures online and in person in defense of Irami Osei-Frimpong, a PhD student and teaching assistant in philosophy who was targeted by a right-wing publication for online comments he made about race.

    Last fall, Osei-Frimpong wrote on Facebook that "some White people may have to die for Black communities to be made whole in this struggle to advance freedom."

    A recent graduate confronted Osei-Frimpong at a Young Democrats meeting and wrote about the TA's social media musings for the conservative organization Campus Reform, sparking widespread accusations of racism and advocating violence, although Osei-Frimpong has clarified multiple times that he was referring to the historical fact that white people have died in the past fighting for and against white supremacy.


  • Piedmont Athens Regional CEO Charles Peck Is Resigning


    charles peck web.jpeg

    Charles Peck.

    Piedmont Athens Regional CEO Charles Peck is stepping down this spring, Piedmont Healthcare announced last week.

    Peck will return Mar. 1 to Navigant Consulting, where he previously served as managing director. But he will stay on as Piedmont Athens Regional’s interim CEO until May 31.


  • Kemp Settles Lawsuit, and Athens Legislators Receive Committee Assignments


    kemp web.jpg

    Gov. Brian Kemp.

    Just before taking office, Gov. Brian Kemp quietly settled a lawsuit filed against him by a Kentucky company he’d invested in, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week.

    A consent order signed by a Gwinnett County judge Jan. 8 doesn’t disclose terms of the settlement.

    The lawsuit was an issue in last year’s gubernatorial race. Businessman Rick Phillips claimed in the lawsuit that Kemp never repaid a $500,000 loan Phillips gave Kemp to invest in Hart AgStrong, a Georgia-based seed company that ran into financial trouble after expanding into Kentucky. At one point, the company owed farmers there $2 million. AJC reports indicate that Kemp invested a total of $750,000 and guaranteed another $10 million in loans. He resigned from the company’s board in 2017 and began to sell off his stake, and now owns about 8 percent of AgStrong.  


  • That 'UGA TA Hates White People' Story Is Way Overblown



    Photo Credit: The University of Georgia

    Irami Osei-Frimpong.

    Here’s some breaking news.

    Wait for it.

    It’s crazy.

    You won’t believe this.

    An Athens PhD student has some controversial political views. And he posts them on social media.

    Irami Osei-Frimpong, a University of Georgia teaching assistant in philosophy, is well-known in Athens political circles. He hosts a YouTube show and posts his thoughts on race and class on Facebook multiple times a day.

    Some months ago, Osei-Frimpong said that “some white people may have to die for black communities to be whole in this struggle to advance freedom.”


  • Former Athens Immigrants Rights Activist May Be Deported


    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Eduardo Samaniego (center) at a 2014 protest outside UGA President Jere Morehead's office.

    An immigrants' rights activist who was denied entry to UGA based on his immigration status is in danger of being deported after spending nearly three weeks in solitary confinement at a South Georgia detention center.

    Eduardo Samaniego, originally from Mexico, was the student body president at North Cobb High School and graduated with honors in 2013. UGA recruited him, but late in the process, he learned he couldn't enroll because he didn't have the documentation required by University System Board of Regents policy. 

    Instead, Samaniego studied at Freedom University, where professors teach classes to undocumented students who are barred from attending Georgia's competitive public universities. He also worked to reverse the policy that kept him out of UGA.


  • Vernon Payne Resigns from Clarke County BOE


    Photo Credit: Clarke County School District


    Vernon Payne has stepped down from the Clarke County school board for health reasons after 40 years of service.

    Payne submitted his resignation to Superintendent Demond Means and Gov. Nathan Deal in a letter dated Dec. 28, but it was not made public until last Friday.

    Payne has not attended a meeting since March, according to meeting minutes. The school district had no procedure to replace him unless he resigned, causing some concern among his District 2 constituents that they would go unrepresented until his term expires at the end of 2020. 


  • Meeting Between Oconee Commissioners and Legislators Focuses on Kemp

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    From left, state Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens), Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville) and Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens).

    Brian Kemp, the governor-elect of Georgia, was not invited to and did not attend the pre-legislative session held late last year by the Oconee County Board of Commissioners for the county’s delegation to the Georgia General Assembly.

    But Kemp’s presence at the gathering was strong nonetheless.

    In closing the session, Republican Sen. Bill Cowsert said “the most interesting thing about this session” is going to be seeing how the personalities of Kemp, newly elected Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan,and House Speaker David Ralston “mesh” and how their goals “match.”


  • Athens-Clarke County Names New Police Chief


    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Athens-Clarke County

    Cleveland Spruill.

    Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams has appointed a North Carolina police chief to take over the ACC police department effective Feb. 4.

    Cleveland Lee Spruill Sr. has been the police chief in Huntersville, NC, since May 2014. The Huntersville police department has 102 sworn officers, 111 total employees and a $12.8 million annual budget.

    Although Huntersville, population 60,000, is half the size of Athens, Spruill has experience running a larger department. Prior to becoming the police chief in Huntersville, Spruill was the executive chief deputy in Alexandria, VA, which had 320 sworn officers, 105 civilian employees, a $57 million budget and served a population of 150,000.

    Williams said in a news release that Spruill stood out among many qualified applicants as the best person to uphold ACC's philosophy of community-oriented policing and serve as an ambassador to the community.


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