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VSU Cracks Down On Former Professor Protesting Against Confederate Memorials In Georgia

Written By: John Stephen

Political controversy is brewing between the highest officials at VSU and a former VSU professor over the use of the professor’s email to promote an effort to remove Confederate monuments and celebrations in Georgia.

In June, sociology professor Mark P. George joined forces with Reverend Floyd Rose, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s local chapter, and sent an open letter to Governor Nathan Deal and all state legislators asking them to stop supporting Confederate holidays and remove Confederate memorials, claiming such commemorations stem from white supremacy ideology.

No one responded to the letter.

In July, George used his VSU email to send a follow-up letter to the same government officials. The next day, VSU deleted George’s email account without notice, according to an Aug. 18 article published on Creative Loafing Atlanta’s website.

The article reports that VSU also froze the funding for the Mary Turner Project, which is a program started and run by George that is dedicated to remembering the victims of a 1918 lynching spree as well as compiling slave census data.

According to VSU’s provost, Dr. Hudson Rogers, the deleting of George’s email account was a standard procedure after George’s academic contract expired in May. But the situation becomes more complex after seeing emails sent and received by VSU’s president, Dr. William McKinney.

These correspondences reveal, according to Creative Loafing’s article, that John Hall Jr., a VSU alumnus and member of Sons of Confederate Veterans, complained about George’s proposal to Dr. McKinney, saying George shouldn’t be using school resources to further his political agenda.

After that, a USG official told Dr. McKinney that George’s lobbying could hurt VSU’s political image. It was then that Dr. McKinney ordered Dr. Rogers to delete George’s email account and freeze the Mary Turner Project Funds.

George has left VSU voluntarily for another job, but the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization that works to protect free speech at colleges, is examining George’s situation. In addition, George and Reverend Floyd met on Monday with Dr. McKinney, Dr. Rogers and VSU’s attorney to discuss the issue.

Keep a close watch on our website and check out the next issue of The Spectator for further reporting on this issue.

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3 comments

  1. Similar to Tracy Woodard, I also know of faculty and administrators whose email accounts have not been “deleted” after leaving VSU. If it is indeed “standard procedure” to delete these are there so many former VSU employees whose email is functional? The former employees that I know of who still have functional email left VSU for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to) new jobs, denial of promotion and tenure, and termination. I am happy to share the names of these faculty and administrators whose email accounts were still functional as of 8/30/14 when I emailed them and did not get the automatic “delivery failed” message that I got when I use Mark George’s email address.

  2. I know personally many professors and students who have left VSU whose email accounts are not deactivated per IT’s stated procedure (deactivate accounts 45 days after termination). I have corresponded with a number of ex professors and students a year and two years after they left VSU using their VSU email account. If you are going to selectively enforce the stated IT policy then you should be honest about it. .This IS NOT the working procedure at VSU and has not been for as long as I can remember and I have been teaching here for 20 years.

  3. Dr. George was not protesting anything. He emailed the bipartisan legislature on behalf of a Mary Turner Project initiative, a civil rights group formed at VSU, sanctioned by VSU, and which has advocated for six years for similar legislative action such as the markers for the historical sites of Mary Turner’s horrific lynching. He asked for legislation to change the state-supported Confederate holiday and monuments. This was an outreach of the social justice mission described in both VSU’s Mission Statement, and in the description of Applied Sociology, which is his field, and in accordance with the by-laws of the MTP Board of Directors. In response, Phil Allen, VSU’s government affairs director, sent an email to VSU President William McKinney stating that something needed to be done because Phil Allen was afraid of a “hot response” from Governor Deal that “might catch the thatched roof of VSU on fire.” President McKinney directly ordered Dr. George’s email account to be shut down, using one of 2 reasons “whichever worked.” There are no other professors at VSU that we are aware of whose email accounts were closed upon direct order of President William McKinney in response to a potential “hot response” from Governor Nathan Deal. I personally would not take orders from our corrupt Governor, while he appoints the Board of Regents, he has no business inserting himself into academic affairs at VSU or anywhere else.

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