In a show of solidarity with the NFL’s “Take A Knee” protest, close to a dozen student senators at Clemson University refused to stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance.
The demonstration, which was sent to Campus Reform and published on September 27, shows over 10 student senators from the college on video sitting down during the reciting of the Pledge at a Monday session. Most senators can be seen standing, however.
Furthermore, screenshots of the Clemson Undergraduate Student Government given to Campus Reform show that the protest was entirely planned by the cohort. In the chat, CUSG senator Willie Webb can be seen condemning President Trump for his remarks against NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem.
“These divisive comments are the antithesis of what America is all about,” Webb wrote. “We are not a nation that ostracizes their own simply due to a difference of opinion. The purpose of the time we allocate for the national anthem and pledge of allegiance is to take time for us to stand as ‘one nation under God’ – not as black nation, not as white nation, not as separate nations but one.”
In his post, Webb stated that he and “many other senators” would sit down during the pledge to “show that we stand with our fellow Americans that choose to respectfully exercise their rights as an American citizen.” He encouraged others in the chat group to join him.
As the video shows, CUSG’s vice president Jaren Stewart joined the sitters and explained his own decision to sit down. “This was like, on my own accord, on a national scale, like, this is a trend that’s extremely new,” Stewart said. “And myself, this is for me, sitting down for the pledge, is that actively changing it? For me, no. But, I am bringing light to an issue that plagues us day in and day out.”
He asked if his fellow students were aware that Clemson is 83 percent white: “Like, but do you think about it when you put on your shoes and when you go out to eat lunch?”
A student who spoke to Campus Reform told the publication that he disagreed with the rationale expressed by the speakers, calling it “a sign of disrespect to the values that make this country great.”
“They are instead undermining the principles of unity and a prosperous republic,” he said. “To protest the Pledge means to further divide the country while simultaneously attempting to stand on a platform of toleration and acceptance.”