COBB COUNTY, Ga. – There were new protests Thursday over Kennesaw State University’s decision to keep its cheerleaders off the field during the national anthem.
Students are not happy at the decisions made regarding the cheerleaders and they voiced their displeasure by taking a knee during the president’s installation ceremony.
Channel 2’s Tom Jones watched as the a group of KSU students kneeled during the national anthem, raised clenched fists and then walked out of the installation ceremony for the university’s fourth president, Sam Olens.
The students told Jones that Olens has avoided them.
“I just personally feel like our voices are being suppressed,” KSU student Jaquan Harper said.
The students said Olens has not sincerely explained the school’s decision to keep the school’s cheerleaders from taking the field during the national anthem.
“We want to see exactly what you think of the cheerleaders taking a knee,” student Galina Fon said.
The cheerleaders took a knee during a football game last month in protest against police brutality and racial inequality.
Olens has said the athletic department made the decision to not have the cheerleaders on the field for the anthem. He said the circumstances could have been handled better.
After Thursday’s ceremony, students protested and held signs denouncing Olens at another celebration.
Jones tried to talk to Olens about the protesters, but was told he has released a statement and didn’t want the festive celebration interrupted.
Meanwhile, one student got into a spirited debate with the protesters.
“You are unpatriotic. End of story,” Neil Wolen yelled at one the protesters.
Wolen agreed the students have the right to protest, but not during the anthem.
“You put your hand on your heart and you stand for America, (which) loves you and you should love it back,” Wolens told the protester.
The students told Wolen it’s hard to love your country when cops are shooting you.
Olens said he wants the campus to be a marketplace of ideas, encouraging free expression and open dialogue, and that’s why he said he plans to meet with the students and cheerleaders.
Featured Image: Patch
Inset Image: AP Photo/File