The South Carolina Secessionist Party and the executive branch of CUSG have both issued statements on the heels of the CUSG Senate’s resolution condemning the display of the confederate flag.
Early Wednesday morning the Secessionist Party released their statement, signed by chairman James Bessenger, claiming that they viewed the senate as “children commenting on subjects of which you have no understanding,” and accusing the senate of “cultural genocide.” Bessenger went on to claim that the Confederate flag would continue to be waved in the Clemson area until the state legislature places the flag removed from the State House in a Confederate museum. He concluded the statement by proposing a debate with CUSG, where members could “hear the other side of the story and engage in spirited and educational discussion.”
Senate Resolution 02 (SR02), passed on the night it was introduced after senators voted to suspend the rules, claimed that the Confederate flag is seen as a symbol of slavery and white nationalism, and is associated with the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. Part of the Secessionist Party’s platform reads, “[w]e refuse to stand by while the politically correct attempt to banish our forebears into a dark corner of history they choose to label ‘Slavery and Treason.’ ”
The executive branch released their statement later Wednesday evening. The statement asserted that students should uphold Clemson’s core values of honesty, integrity, and respect, while adding that CUSG views diversity and inclusion as a “fundamental principle that must be recognized as we strive to make Clemson one of the best institutions for higher education.”
The statement also affirmed CUSG’s commitment to free speech. Senators Dahvier Alston and Matthew Innocenti, authors of SR02, stated that they chose to condemn student and community groups who display the Confederate flag and not individuals, out of concern for free speech. Alston and Innocenti did not make it clear if they thought individuals and student groups had different standards of free speech, and did not respond to the TTO’s request for comment.
SR02 was passed by voice vote at the September 3rd senate meeting. Senators suspended the rules to advance the resolution into second read, a process normally reserved for emergency funding bills and the last meeting of the year, after claiming that the resolution would be less powerful if it had to wait until the following week. The resolution survived an objection that would’ve pushed it back to the next senate meeting and an amendment that would have made a more forceful condemnation of the Confederate flag.