“THEY MIGHT AS WELL APPLY TO OPEN A CAMPUS ON THE MOON”
|| By FITSNEWS || After hypocritically rebuking recent efforts to rename their iconic campus landmark after someone who wasn’t a murderous racist (not to mention the author of the banana republic that is modern-day South Carolina), Clemson University’s board of trustees now wants to revisit the issue.
But they’ve got a problem …
Sources close to the Clemson board – which governs the school via an unconstitutional “lifetime appointee” majority – tell us a belated effort is now underway to rename the school’s iconic Tillman Hall, which pays tribute to the Palmetto State’s infamous nineteenth century governor “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman.
An outspoken white supremacist and lynch law advocate, Tillman was indicted (but never tried) for his role in the 1876 Hamburg Massacre. At least six black freedmen were shot and killed in that incident by a racist mob led by Tillman. Three others were shot and seriously wounded.
Eight years ago, we called for Tillman’s statue on the S.C. State House grounds to come down in light of his racist past, but in the aftermath of last week’s removal of the Confederate flag from those same grounds – which we supported – we’ve revisited the issue.
“If we start down such a path … where does it end? ” we wrote. “Does the definition of ‘offense’ ever stop expanding? Or do we permit it to perpetually escalate into elevated echelons of ridiculousness?”
Two weeks ago, Clemson’s board of trustees’ chairman David Wilkins was adamant that Tillman’s name was staying on the building. But now it’s apparently dawned on Clemson’s board (which is comprised of 12 white members and one black member) that having a landmark named for a guy like Tillman is bad for business.
It’s especially bad if the business involves recruiting black athletes to its football program – which has reemerged in recent years as a national powerhouse.
(More on that larger issue here).
Not only that, the school has been dealing with some present-day race-related issues which have further complicated its roots.
Aside from Tillman, Clemson’s Institute of Government is named after longtime segregationist U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. Hell, the very ground on which Clemson sits was once the plantation of John C. Calhoun – one of the staunchest antebellum pro-slavery advocates.
So what’s to stop Clemson from renaming its building? The S.C. General Assembly – which after lowering the flag in an exceedingly caustic debate is in no mood to take up any similar measures.
“Not no, but hell no,” one lawmaker told us.
“They might as well apply to open a campus on the moon,” another said.
Why does Clemson need the state’s permission? Because according to the 2000 Heritage Act, the original compromise which moved the Confederate flag from the State House dome, “any monument, marker, memorial, school, or street erected or named in honor of the Confederacy or the civil rights movement located on any municipal, county, or state property shall not be removed, changed, or renamed without the enactment of a joint resolution by a two-thirds vote of the membership of each house of the General Assembly.”
In fact just this week S.C. Speaker of the House Jay Lucas cited the act in rebuking efforts aimed at getting lawmakers to address other controversial monuments, memorials, buildings, etc.
“The South Carolina House of Representatives will not engage in or debate the specifics of public monuments, memorials, state buildings, road names or any other historical markers,” Lucas said. “The General Assembly, the House in particular, made it abundantly clear during the debate of the confederate flag that the only issue they were willing to discuss was the placement of the battle flag on the north lawn of the State House. We reached a swift resolution last week and in doing so put an end to this discussion. Debate over this issue will not be expanded or entertained throughout the remainder of my time as Speaker.”
One recourse available to Clemson? The one we’ve been suggesting for years as it relates to the school’s unconstitutional form of governance – privatization.
In fact we’ve consistently maintained higher education is not a core function of government and that the Palmetto State’s bloated, duplicative and inefficient network of state-subsidized schools should be set free to pursue its destiny in the private sector.