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Secessionists respond to CUSG’s Confederate flag resolution, challenge Clemson students to debate

Courtesy of the S.C. Secessionist Party

Letter sent to CUSG by the S.C. Secessionist Party on Sept. 5. 

Following the passage of CUSG’s resolution denouncing the display of Confederate flags on Clemson’s campus earlier this week, the S.C. Secessionist Party (SCSP) has challenged Clemson student government to a debate on Confederate history.

“If your mission as the student body government is the furtherance of the education of the Clemson student body, we encourage you to accept this offer and sponsor a debate,” SCSP chairman James Bessenger wrote, adding that the group hopes to “defend our position and that of millions of Southerners whose ancestors you have so cruelly maligned.”

CUSG’s resolution, authored by Senators Dahvier Alston and Matthew Innocenti, calls the Confederate flag “a symbol of hatred, racism, slavery, and white nationalism” and denounces the display of the flag on campus. It was passed on Sept. 3, a week after individuals with Confederate flags were spotted standing on the Highway 123 pedestrian bridge and driving down Highway 93 near Clemson.

The display was part of a “flagging” campaign organized by the Secessionist Party, which has organized such displays since the Confederate flag was removed from the State House grounds in 2015. The group says that these flaggings will continue until the Confederate flag that was removed from the State House is displayed in the Confederate Relic Room. Currently, the Relic Room plans to display the flag in a simple frame after the state legislature declined to provide funding for a more elaborate display.

“If the Clemson student body government’s concern over the flag displays is genuine I challenge you to express your concerns with the State legislature who are now three years in default of their promise,” Bessenger wrote in the letter to CUSG. “Otherwise, I suspect your recent actions regarding this matter to be nothing more than an attempt at grandstanding by the members of the student body government.”

In an email to The Tiger, CUSG Secretary of Public Relations Parker Tilley said that CUSG has “had no direct communication with SCSP” and has no comment on the debate challenge. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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