Photo Credit: Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA
The UGA administration released a point-by-point response last week to a scathing Faculty Senate report on the Baldwin Hall debacle.
Administrators admitted that they should have done more to ascertain whether there were graves underneath Baldwin before digging, such as using ground-based radar. Under Gwynne Darden, the head of the Office of University Architects, new procedures are in place, such as retaining an independent archaeologist to advise on construction projects. They dismissed the charge that faculty should have been consulted, noting that no one spoke up until the remains were discovered in 2015. Although they did not hold a town hall meeting, administrators wrote that they met with members of the Athens community individually and in small groups, and that painting those individuals as “sycophants” is insulting.
University of Georgia philosophy PhD student and teaching assistant Irami Osei-Frimpong did not violate the university's Student Code of Conduct, a University Judiciary panel of two students and a faculty member ruled on Monday.
The panel found that Osei-Frimpong did not furnish false information or omit facts on his application about his attendance at the University of Chicago or his arrest during a 2011 protest, which a judge later ruled unconstitutional.
The Office of Student Conduct launched a three-month-long investigation into Osei-Frimpong’s past after receiving an anonymous tip that he had lied on his application to graduate school about his academic history and criminal record.
The investigation was launched shortly after recent UGA graduate Andrew Lawrence, who had written an article for a right-wing website on Osei-Frimpong’s racial views that angered conservatives, claimed that a donor had threatened to withhold $2.5 million as a result of Osei-Frimpong’s comments. Although UGA’s Equal Opportunity Office had cleared him of violating the university’s discrimination policy because his remarks were made on his own time and protected by the First Amendment, after Lawrence’s tweet, UGA said it was “vigorously exploring all available legal options” with the state attorney general’s office.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued
A week after they first sought a meeting with UGA President Jere Morehead about the university's handling of slave remains found underneath Baldwin Hall, protesters gathered again for what one activist, Imani Scott-Blackwell, dubbed #MoreheadMonday.
The group of about 50 gathered at the Arch on Monday afternoon before marching through North Campus, waving signs and chanting slogans. They paused briefly at the Administration Building—where campus police threatened to arrest them last Monday—but did not try to enter the building. It has remained locked since a confrontation Thursday with a sign posted on the door stating that "expressive activities are not permitted in interior spaces."
Photo Credit: Joe Lavine
Protestors who sought to enter the Administration Building on Thursday to seek a meeting with President Jere Morehead about Baldwin Hall and slavery were barred by police because they had been disruptive at a previous protest on Monday, according to a statement University of Georgia spokesman Greg Trevor released today.
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
A crowd of nearly 60 protestors, some with shovels in hand, marched Monday from the Tate Center Plaza to the Administrative Building on North Campus as part of the March to Recognize and Redress UGA’s history of slavery. The group demanded President Jere Morehead and a representative of the Board of Regents meet with them before the beginning of the fall semester.
However, protestors did not get a welcoming response from administration. Instead, five protestors were warned they would be arrested on the grounds of criminal trespassing, and dozens were refused access to the Administrative Building.
The group’s hope is that the university will agree to their three demands laid out in an open letter delivered to Morehead on Apr. 10.
Whether it's a political witch hunt or a case of academic dishonesty, University of Georgia teaching assistant Irami Osei-Frimpong will learn next week whether he's been suspended or expelled from the philosophy PhD program.
A panel of five students held a six-hour hearing Friday on the Office of Student Conduct's charges, based on an anonymous tip, that he omitted his attendance at the University of Chicago and a 2011 trespassing arrest at a protest from his application to graduate school, which UGA officials say call into question his academic record.
Osei-Frimpong has said that he didn't think either was relevant, because he studied political science, not philosophy, in Chicago, and the UGA philosophy department has said including that information would only have made his application stronger. The misdemeanor charge against him was dismissed as unconstitutional.
The charges, he says, are retaliation for the racially charged statements he's made on social media, which drew the ire of conservative alumni after a right-wing website publicized them.
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.
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
The Georgia House of Representatives could vote soon on what will be one of the strictest—if not the strictest—abortion laws in the country today.
On Friday, the Georgia Senate moved forward House Bill 481. The “Heartbeat Bill” bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. That’s when supporters claim a fetal heartbeat can be detected, although doctors dispute that. The current law bans most abortions after 20 weeks.
Both Athens-area senators, Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) and Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) voted in favor of the bill. Two Athens representatives, Republicans Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, have stated they will vote to approve the bill as they did the first time around. Democrat Spencer Frye is the only Athens legislator expected to vote against it.
Senate tweaks to the bill mean the House must approve it again to send it on to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature, but time is running out. Before Day 38 of the 40-day session, HB 481’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), said the bill is three votes shy of passage.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued
More than 200 University of Georgia students gathered at the Miller Learning Center Monday night to talk about a racist video that went viral over the weekend.
Black students who spoke at the "In Solidarity" event, organized by the Student Government Association and UGA chapter of the NAACP, said they were hurt but not surprised by the Snapchat video, which showed a white UGA fraternity member whipping another white student with a belt, telling him to "pick my cotton," and using a racial slur. They also criticized the university administration's response to the video.
"There are students of color who don't feel safe, who don't feel comfortable, and that's a failure on the administration's part," one student said.
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