State takes KSU to task for its response to cheerleaders taking a knee


State officials released a report Tuesday that concluded Kennesaw State University didn’t follow its legal guidance that cheerleaders and any other students cannot be prohibited from kneeling during the national anthem as long as the actions aren’t disruptive.

The Georgia Board of Regents ordered a special review of how KSU responded to the decision by five African-American cheerleaders to take a knee during the anthem during a September football game after conflicting information emerged regarding why the university decided a week later to no longer allow cheerleaders on the field during the anthem.

KSU has been in the national spotlight since the change to its show before football games, receiving criticism from free-speech organizations, some faculty and students. Many area residents and KSU boosters, though, have criticized the cheerleaders who’ve taken a knee, describing their actions as unpatriotic.

KSU President Sam Olens announced earlier this month cheerleaders will again be allowed on the football field during the anthem.

Here are some key findings from the five-page report:

  • Olens was at a University System of Georgia meeting a few days after the first time some cheerleaders took a knee and was told such actions were protected free speech.
  • Olens did not follow the University System’s instructions that any campus making changes related to the matter should discuss their plans with USG officials. The USG learned about KSU’s decision after reading an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.
  •  KSU’s athletics department told USG officials it made the changes to the show before football games, saying the decision was made to “remedy” a two-minute gap before the visiting team came on the field.
  • The report questioned KSU’s explanation for the change, noting it was made a week after the first time the cheerleaders knelt during the anthem.
  • State Rep. Earl Ehrhart and Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren called Olens and other KSU officials adamant that the cheerleaders shouldn’t be kneeling on the football field.

A complete article about the report will be on www.myajc.com later today.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Newest offering at Gwinnett mall: diplomas
Newest offering at Gwinnett mall: diplomas

Instead of ditching school to hang out at the mall, some Gwinnett County students will be attending class at the mall. A new campus of Phoenix High School, a non-traditional learning site, opens Monday at Sugarloaf Mills. In partnership with Simon Youth Foundation, a division of mall owner Simon Property Group, Gwinnett County Public Schools is starting...
Breaking: Clark Atlanta University president to resign in December
Breaking: Clark Atlanta University president to resign in December

Clark Atlanta University President Ronald A. Johnson is resigning in December for personal reasons, he wrote in a letter Friday, after leading the university for more than three years. “I make this decision for personal reasons and I advised our Board of Trustees of my intentions today,” Johnson wrote. “While I am reluctant to...
Official: $1B Mega Millions jackpot will impact education payouts
Official: $1B Mega Millions jackpot will impact education payouts

A big lottery jackpot also means a bigger payout for education.  Georgia Lottery officials said Friday’s $1 billion jackpot — the first of its kind for Mega Millions — is a big deal toward surpassing the $1.1 billion the Georgia Lottery contributed toward education during the last fiscal year, which ended June 30.  Georgia...
Opinion: I’m not a distraction, far from it. Stop treating me as one.
Opinion: I’m not a distraction, far from it. Stop treating me as one.

A senior at Etowah High School wrote an essay about the message school dress codes deliver to young women.  Regular readers know I share Cherokee County student Madison Jones’ concerns over dress codes and the misplaced focus on how the behavior and appearance of girls impacts boys and their education. Most recently, I wrote about a...
Savannah State planning cuts as tuition and revenue declines
Savannah State planning cuts as tuition and revenue declines

Savannah State University administrators are considering budget cuts to deal with recent enrollment and revenue declines. University President Cheryl Dozier said in a recent letter to faculty and staff that enrollment has declined two consecutive years, which has resulted in a reduction in funding this fiscal year. Savannah State’s total budget...
More Stories