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.
The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity’s UGA chapter has been suspended and four members expelled from the fraternity after a video surfaced showing them using racist language and mocking slavery.
“I want to reach out to you to express how profoundly disappointed and appalled I am by the content of a recent video involving four UGA students that has been circulating on social media. I know this matter has caused great pain and anguish within our University community,” UGA president Jere Morehead said in a statement. “This incident does not reflect the culture of unity and inclusion which we support on our campus.”
Once the video began gaining attention, the University of Georgia, Student Government Association and Tau Kappa Epsilon gave statements via Twitter.
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole/file
A Student Government Association resolution urging the University of Georgia to build a monument on North Campus to all enslaved people at the University of Georgia and to dedicate the Chapel Bell to two enslaved men who were utilized as bell ringers on campus passed 32-3 Tuesday night.
“Many community members and students do not feel as though the University of Georgia adequately, publicly acknowledged its past entanglement with slavery, nor acknowledged the substantial contributions that enslaved peoples made towards the establishment and success of the University,” the SGA resolution states.
For senators like Jessica Douglas, who introduced the resolution, memorials at Baldwin Halland Oconee Hill Cemetery are not enough.
“There’s this conception that because a memorial was placed at Baldwin Hall that we’ve sort of checked the box and that that’s all we really need to do. I want to continue the conversation and grappling with our legacy of slavery,” Douglas said.
S. Jack Hu, the vice president for research at the University of Michigan, will take over as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Georgia July 1.
Hu oversees the $1.5 billion research program at Michigan while also teaching manufacturing, serving on the executive committee of the National Academy of Engineering's Transportation Research Board and leading the driverless vehicle initiative Mcity. He previously served as associate dean for academic affairs and associate dean for research and graduate education in Michigan's College of Engineering.
UGA President Jere Morehead chose him from among four finalists selected by a faculty search committee.
A University of Georgia search committee has announced four finalists for the position of senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, the No. 2 position at UGA.
The finalists are Jack Hu, vice president for research at the University of Michigan; Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University; Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction at UGA; and Elizabeth Spiller, dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Davis.
Shrivastav will give a public presentation Tuesday, Schmittman on Thursday, Hu on Monday, Feb. 11 and Spiller on Wednesday, Feb. 13. All four are from 9:30–10:30 a.m. at the Chapel.
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.
Lauren Haynes is working towards the day when it is the norm for female artists and artists of color to inhabit museum collections with the ease and frequency of white males. She also wants to get people excited about contemporary art.
Haynes spoke to a full auditorium last night at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. The Curator of Contemporary American Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, she is in Athens to serve as this year’s guest juror for the Lyndon House Art Center’s 44th Juried Exhibition. Speculation is high among local artists about how the show might look and feel in the hands of this bold young curator. Babs Kall, a local artist who works with fused glass, said “I’m curious and anxious to see what Lauren chose for the show. I am expecting a vibrant and colorful, tactile exhibit.”
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