Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke has received enough support for his Senate campaign in Louisiana to be included in a televised debate. The debate is scheduled to take place on Nov. 2 at
Duke, who made waves early in the presidential race over his support for Donald Trump and later announced his run for Senate, has polled high enough to qualify for the
The university, which agreed to host the debate before Duke qualified, has said it is contractually obligated to keep the event scheduled. On Monday, Dillard student leader Joseph Caldwell said there are plans to respond to the fact that an internationally known racist and white nationalist will get a speaking platform at an institution that has provided higher education opportunities predominantly to African-Americans in the Deep South since the end of slavery.
"David Duke is unacceptable and he's not welcome here," Caldwell, a 20-year-old sophomore and vice president of Dillard's Student Government Association
"We are going to look at that as a student body and we're probably going to do something about it," he said.
Caldwell, an urban studies and human policy major, said the announcement shocked many students ove
David Grubb, a Dillard spokesman, said university President Walter Kimbrough and the board of trustees learned WVUE-TV had invited Duke to participate in the event on Thursday. While officials are in ongoing conversations about Duke's participation, pulling out of the event has not been part of those discussions, Grubb said in a phone interview Monday.
"It was a shock to us, just like it was to anyone else," Grubb said. With the coronation of Mi
Later on Monday, Grubb said Roland Bullard, Dillard's vice president for student success, met with SGA executive board members to clear the air about the upcoming debate. The spokesman said students are "aware and clear" on the university's position about Duke.
"Most importantly, we encourage them to make sure they get out and vote on Election Day," Grubb said in a phone interview.
In a statement released Saturday, Dillard ensured that it wou
Duke has expressed his excitement at the invitation to join the debate. But the 66-year-old former KKK leader has reportedly expressed his concern over safety. "Dillard is pretty supportive of Black Lives Matter, and I've been pretty critical of them," Duke told theAcadiana Advocate on Oct. 20.
"Issues about safety are unfounded," the spokesman said.
"His destructive rhetoric is a distraction from this campaign, which is about our future, not our past," Campbell said.
Duke, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations in 1988 and 1992, has also failed in runs for the Louisiana state Senate and governorship, U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Duke was elected to the Lou
In March, he denied ever officially endorsing Trump's candidacy, but said he agrees with the real estate mogul's call for draconian immigration policy proposals that would allow the U.S. to remain Eurocentric in population and policy.
Founded in 1869, just a few years after the abolition of U.S. slavery, Dillard became a premiere Christian institution of higher learning in the 20th century and has the designation of being a historical black college or university, or an HBCU. Dillard enrolled
Should Duke get to debate on campus, Dillard students are
"I know my student body," Hudson said Monday. "They're going to carry themselves with intelligence. But I think it's going to get tense."
Dillard sent an email to the student body and to alumni over the weekend to acknowledge the concern among students, Hudson said.
"If I was still SGA president, I would have pushed for the debate to be hosted off-campus," Hudson said in the phone interview. "We could have had shuttles for
Given that student leaders were not initially consulted before Dillard agreed to host the debate, Hudson questioned whether officials had students in mind at all.
"I really kind of feel as though they're not looking at it beyond the publicity," he said.
WVUE-TV's invitation to Duke is "disrespectful and distasteful," Caldwell, the current SGA vice president, said over the phone.
"I can care less what David Duke has to say," Caldwell said. "He's racist. He endorses Donald Trump. As a student body, we just have to rally together. This is our chance to make our mark."
Oct. 25, 2016, 11:10 a.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.