KKK to visit today

By on September 7, 2004

By Mallory Bowman

It’s not over yet.

After several empty threats last year from the Ku Klux Klan,they have once again planned a campus visit for today from 2 – 4p.m. at the free speech area located outside the Student ActivitiesCenter.

The white supremacist group has requested to hand outinformational fliers to students passing by.

University of Louisville Provost Shirley Willihnganz said theuniversity received the written request from the KKK last Wednesdaythat stated two representatives of the group wished to pass outinformational fliers on campus.

Willihnganz said although the university strongly disagrees withtheir purpose, the KKK filled out the necessary requests for acampus visit. However, she said past experience has shown that theKKK has made several empty claims, saying they will come and thennever showing up.

“There is no way for us to predict if they will come or not,”Willihnganz said. “We are going forward planning on them comingbecause they have submitted the written request.”

She said that although the university doesn’t want the group oncampus, U of L is bound by the Constitution to allow the Klan tovisit.

“We don’t know what their motives are,” she said. “And I wouldprefer we not collaborate with them on drawing more attention.”

When the request was received Wednesday evening, Willihnganzsaid several university officials met with student groups such asthe Student National Coordinating Committee, formerly the campuschapter of the National Association for the Advancement of ColoredPeople; commonGround and the Student Government Association. Aletter was also drafted to students and made available on NetMailfrom President James Ramsey, Willihnganz and SGA President RyanMcKinley, explaining the university’s stance and the situation. Theletter encourages students not to fuel the Klan’s need forattention.

After meeting with several groups, McKinley said the students hehad met with agreed as well: the Klan should be ignored.

“We’ve met with students and talked and we are encouragingpeople to go about business as usual,” he said. “Just pretend likenothing is happening. We realize that will be harder for somestudents to do, but we can’t give them the attention theycrave.”

McKinley said he’s not concerned about the KKK’s visit settingthe tone for the rest of the semester.

“We realize [the KKK] could keep doing this all through thesemester,” he said. “We just have to go on with the things we haveplanned. We can’t let them come into our lives and scare us overand over.”

SNCC Chairman Philip Bailey said he and others aren’t surprisedthe Klan is attempting to have a presence on campus this year.

“This is kind of held over from last year,” Bailey said. “SNCCis not going to protest. If you do have a nonviolent protest, thatplays into the media attention that they seek. The university and Iboth agree that there is no worth by engaging the Klan in anyconfrontation. However, I do not sympathize with those who thinkthe Klan is not a threat.”

Willihnganz said increased security around the free speech areais planned for today, as well as university representatives whowill be warning students of the two Klan members handing outinformation as students approach the SAC.

“We’re encouraging students to divert their paths if they can,”she said.

Willihnganz said there will also be some type of barricadebetween the two members and the students.

“You have to remember that there are only two of them,” shesaid. “I think this is probably a good time to reach out to eachother.”

Student and President of the Baptist Student Union, Adam Hinton,said he knows the Klan has a right to be on campus. However, hechallenged students to disagree with the group.

“I think it’s the responsibility of the students to respectfullyand peacefully disagree with the Klan, being careful not topractice the same hatred and judgment that they promote.”

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