University of Georgia President Jere Morehead defended UGA’s actions on the discovery and reinterment of slave remains underneath Baldwin Hall in a letter to Flagpole today.
Morehead was responding to a letter delivered by local activists to his office on Wednesday demanding that the university acknowledge and address the legacy of slavery on campus.
Morehead began the letter by stating he was “not surprised by the wildly inaccurate claims” in the open letter signed by local activist groups and public officials.
“As President of this institution, I know the University has done what is right and has treated the remains of the individuals at Baldwin Hall with dignity and respect. I am troubled that many dedicated individuals—who represent a broad diversity of perspectives and backgrounds—have been maligned and personally attacked for doing their jobs in a responsible manner,” Morehead wrote.
Photo Credit: Ashlyn Webb
Representatives from local activist organizations delivered an open letter to UGA President Jere Morehead today demanding that the university acknowledge and address the legacy of slavery on campus.
Members of several organizations that signed on to the letter—including the Economic Justice Coalition, Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, the Athens NAACP, United Campus Workers of Georgia and Athens for Everyone—stood on the steps of the Administration Building and recited the letter this morning. Signers also included Athens-Clarke County commissioners Mariah Parker, Melissa Link and Tim Denson, and Clarke County Board of Education members LaKeisha Gantt and Tawana Mattox.
The letter demands that the university take responsibility for its role in white supremacy, fund a faculty-proposed Center of Slavery to further research the university’s history of slavery and oppression, and provide reparations by granting full-tuition scholarships to descendants of enslaved people who worked on UGA’s campus and for African-American students who graduate from an Athens public high school, as well as paying all employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
The Clarke County School District has leadership vacancies at six schools to fill after moving several principals to the central office.
The district announced the moves late Friday, a day after the Board of Education met in closed session to discuss personnel.
According to Director of Public Relations and Communications Mary Walsh Wickwire:
In "Run It Up," Flagpole's new podcast, we take a deeper look at some of the stories from the current issue. In this week's episode, Gabe Vodicka talks with Blake Aued about what the future holds for the so-called Murmur trestle, the segment of abandoned railway made famous by its appearance on the back cover of R.E.M.'s debut album. Also, how Georgia's controversial "heartbeat bill" could affect abortion rights on a national scale—or backfire on the Athens lawmakers who supported it. Plus, a preview of this year's Classic City Brew Fest.
Photo Credit: Thinc UGA
Come June, Jared Bybee will no longer be the president of the Clarke County Board of Education. His family and he are moving to southern California, where his wife has accepted a job with the University of California, Irvine.
Bybee was first elected to the board in 2016. His colleagues voted him president in January 2018.
“Being on the board has been a ton of work, but very rewarding, and I’ve learned a lot from my colleagues on the board even when we disagreed,” Bybee said. “Even after seeing all the complicated innards of how it all works, I remain steadfast in my optimism for CCSD and the direction we are headed.”
With the construction of Firefly Trail finally underway after nearly 20 years, Athens-Clarke County finally has to make a decision about what to do with the Murmur trestle.
In 2000, CSX started to remove rails and demolish trestles along an abandoned rail line running from Winterville to downtown Athens. One of those trestles, near Poplar Street, was featured on the back cover of R.E.M.’s album Murmur. Fans rallied, and ACC purchased the trestle and halted the demolition, but not before it was halfway gone.
As many cities have done with unused railroads—see New York’s High Line or the Silver Comet Trail west of Atlanta—ACC decided to convert the flat, level rail bed into a walking and biking trail. Sales tax collections, planning and federal approval took over a decade. The first leg of the trail, between East Broad Street and Dudley Park, opened last year. Initially, there was not enough money for a new bridge over Trail Creek, but that’s changed since voters approved a 1 percent sales tax for transportation in 2017.
A bill severely restricting abortions in Georgia passed narrowly with a 92-78 vote on the House floor on Friday. It takes 91 votes to pass a bill.
Now, House Bill 481 heads to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk to be signed into law.
Kemp is expected to sign the legislation. In his 2018 campaign, he vowed to his supporters to sign “the strictest abortion law in the nation.”
Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson/file
Athens' Confederate monument, and others, will be harder to move if the state legislature passes a bill granting monuments greater protection.
Reps. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) and Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville) voted in favor of Senate Bill 77. Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) voted against the bill, which passed 100–71.
SB 77, sponsored Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), increases the punishment against those who damage or destroy a monument. Those found guilty of damaging a monument could be fined up to three times the costs to repair or replace it, according to the bill.
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