Kennesaw State prepares to celebrate Olens amid planned protests to support cheerleaders


Kennesaw State University officials are scheduled to have reception on its Campus Green Thursday after a ceremony officially installing Sam Olens as its president, but he may be greeted by some students and others planning a sit-in at the same spot.

The sit-in is intended to show support primarily for five cheerleaders who took a knee when the national anthem was played during the football team’s Sept. 30 game in a silent protest against police misconduct and racial inequality.

Cheerleaders are no longer on the field during the anthem, a change KSU officials made after the Sept. 30 game that they say has nothing to do with the kneel down. Georgia Board of Regents announced Wednesday it’s conducting a review of how KSU responded to the cheerleaders’ protest.

Olens said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon he regrets how the situation was handled.

Some faculty members have told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they will not attend the 10 a.m. ceremony, known as an investiture, because they do not feel Olens has been transparent nor embraced the concept of social justice. Olens removed the phrase “social justice” from some faculty job descriptions, worried it “could be construed as requiring applicants to pass a political litmus test or adhere to a particular political philosophy.”

Amy Donahue, an associate professor of philosophy, said she is boycotting the ceremony.

“I cannot in good conscience support the appointment of a person as university president who disregards student autonomy, institutional due processes, and truth,” Donahue said, stressing she’s speaking as a private citizen.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

AJC top teacher Jill Buchanan of Douglas gave hope to parent of child with special needs
AJC top teacher Jill Buchanan of Douglas gave hope to parent of child with special needs

The AJC created the Celebrating Teachers Awards this year to showcase remarkable Georgia educators. More than 375 teachers were nominated in the inaugural round of the awards, and a panel of education professors chose 10 winners. These teachers share a common trait: They go above and beyond for their students and their schools. Since this...
Here’s Georgia education news to be thankful for
Here’s Georgia education news to be thankful for

Teachers, students and schools across metro Atlanta have notched some victories to give thanks for in 2017. Teachers, who are easy targets for politicians, pundits and parents to blame for educational failures, are driving thousands of kids to success, as evidenced by by 325 candidates put up by friends, colleagues and students for the first AJC Celebrating...
AJC top teacher Maureen Wales of Fulton brings incredible energy, dedication to classroom
AJC top teacher Maureen Wales of Fulton brings incredible energy, dedication to classroom

The AJC created the Celebrating Teachers Awards this year to showcase remarkable Georgia educators. More than 375 teachers were nominated in the inaugural round of the awards, and a panel of education professors chose 10 winners. These teachers share a key trait: They go above and beyond for their students and their schools. Since this...
Georgia’s new school fixer says districts must do the work
Georgia’s new school fixer says districts must do the work

Eric Thomas is swaying his head from side to side, his expression seeming to telegraph an answer. The question was: Should school districts worry about him? On Nov. 16, the longtime Cincinnati resident and educator became Georgia’s first school “turnaround” chief. His job is to select low-performing schools for attention and send...
AJC top teacher Lynnette Lindesay of Fulton helps students follow their passion
AJC top teacher Lynnette Lindesay of Fulton helps students follow their passion

The AJC created the Celebrating Teachers Awards this year to showcase remarkable Georgia educators. More than 375 teachers were nominated in the inaugural round of the awards, and a panel of education professors chose 10 winners. These teachers have a trait in common: They go above and beyond for their students and their schools. Since...
More Stories