NAACP, CofC students fight against McConnell candidacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)-- State and local leaders of the National Association forthe Advancement of Colored People on Monday afternoon stood alongside students, future students,alum and supporters to announce their disapproval of college officialsconsidering Lt.Gov. Glenn McConnell as a candidate for presidencyof the college.

"You cannot hiresomeone who diminishes the pain of my ancestors and elevates to honor those whoinflicted the pain and expect me to accept that," said Rev. Nelson B.Rivers, III, the vice president of stakeholder relations{}for the NAACP.

Nelson and other leaderssay McConnell is not qualified to{}diversify the College of Charlestonstudent body and will tarnish the academic reputation of the collegenationwide.

"Mr. McConnell mayclaim to embrace diversity," said Nelson.{}"But his paststatements and actions show that he only embraces diversity on his terms."

Nearly 15 years ago,McConnell publicly{}fought to hang a Confederate flag{}from a pole onstatehouse grounds.

For NAACP leaders,his{}advocacy for Confederate{}commemoration{}does notrepresent the progressive mindset College of Charleston students need.

"It's about the wayGlenn McConnell views history," said Pete Jobe, a supporter of the NAACP."He's simply wrong. He's romanticizing a disaster. I mean, it would belike celebrating the Holocaust and that's just crazy."

Rivers says if McConnellis made president, it could take a toll on the number of minority studentswilling to attend the college.

"We urge the boardto seriously consider whether they want a president who has created animosity,division and protest in our state. Do they want to choose that man?"Nelson said.

In an interview at hisCharleston home, McConnell said he saw Civil War re-enactment a means of visuallearning.

"That's whateducation is about," said McConnell. "Its about depicting all thedifferent things and learn about it. It helps you to understand and makedecisions and know where you came from."

In fact, McConnell sayshe wants to be judged on his record, not rhetoric.{}

A spokesperson forMcConnell{}pointed out{}the former senator served as chairman{}ofthe African American History Monument Commission, helped to double the numberof black judges across the state and secured lottery money for South Carolina'shistorically black colleges and universities.

McConnell says his experiencein{}politics has prepared{}him to successfully lead a college. {}

"Legislating islike scholarship in a way," said{}McConnell.{}"We have toresearch, we have to defend what we have, we have to get people to come to itand I think I have the right skill set at the right time for where the collegeis.

Re-enactment aside,current and future CofC students say they need assurance that McConnell willwork for the good of all students at the college.

"When you are in aposition of leadership and you choose to represent a school whose main push isdiversity, we need to know where the balance is," said ArvaughnnaPostema, a graduating senior at{}CofC.{}

McConnell is set to havean on-campus interview{}on Thursday. {}

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