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.