Students lead peaceful protest to voice concerns over controversial photos

By: Ebonee Burrell | Editor in Chief

On March 5, South Alabama students participated in a peaceful protest as a response to the racially insensitive photos taken by university professors that resurfaced on social media earlier this week. 

The photos included professors Bob Wood dressed as a confederate general and Alex Sharland and Teresa Weldy posing with a noose and whip. The images were taken at an on-campus Halloween party and posted to the Mitchell College of Business Instagram page back in 2014. 

Within only a few days, a petition was created and signed by over 2,500 people urging the university to fire the professors as these photos represented symbols of hatred and violence towards the African-American community. 

Many organizations, including the Black Student Union, NAACP, and College Democrats, organized the protest with the leaders giving speeches on behalf of their organization. 

“Racism, discrimination, and ignorance should not exist in an institution of higher learning, especially by those who are leaders,” said Basheer Abdul-Addarr, member of NAACP and Collegiate 100.  

On Friday morning, President Waldrop sent an email to students, faculty, and staff addressing that the professors have been placed on administrative leave while the situation is under investigation. 

Kennedy Reese, a member of BSU and second Vice President of NAACP, says she’s not satisfied with the administration’s handling of this incident. 

“I’m trying to understand, why wouldn’t someone be fired for hate speech? This is where we live, where we learn, where we’re supposed to be a community,” Reese said. “For the university to act so late shows their true motives, it makes me feel like they don’t care about black students here.” 

The protestors marched to the MacQueen Alumni Center chanting the phrase “Hey, ho! Racism has to go!” They met with President Waldrop where he engaged with and answered the protestor’s questions on this concerning issue in the South Alabama community.