Students demand cash-strapped college spend more on diversity

The student government at Limestone College is demanding longer Health Center hours and the hiring of more “faculty members of color,” but doesn’t want current students to foot the bill.

“We, students of Limestone College, experience marginalization by this institution through manifestations of athletic supremacy, in the form of unfair medical or reasonable treatment for student’s physical and emotional health needs,” begins a letter sent to President Walt Griffin and his Cabinet by the Limestone Student Government Association (SGA).

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The claim appears to be directed at Limestone’s large athletic population, which Limestone Director of Communications Charles Wyatt told Campus Reform represents approximately 70 percent of the student body.

In addition to longer hours, the SGA is also demanding “a staffing increase for the Health Center,” the implementation of a plan “to grandfather the tuition for sophomores, juniors, and seniors,” and “that diversity be properly reflected in Limestone’s faculty and curriculum.”

Specifically, the letter calls on Limestone to “hire more faculty and staff members of color and other diverse backgrounds in each department,” specifying that “students of color” should have input on the hiring process.

The letter proclaims it is signed by Student Government as a whole, but a member of Limestone SGA, who spoke with Campus Reform on the condition of anonymity, said that its sentiments were hardly unanimous.

“The letter was not representative of the whole student body, and was not discussed in an appropriate manner with full input from other members,” the source divulged.

According to evidence provided by the source, SGA President Tobias Miller told concerned members of SGA that the letter was necessary because the school had not made fast enough progress on the initiatives to date.

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“'Demand’ can be a strong word, but I have been in meetings advocating and discussing solutions to about these demands for almost 3 semesters,” Miller allegedly told the recalcitrant representatives. “I have attempted the nice approach. The letter is a representation of fulfilling our responsibility as SGA.”

Limestone President Walt Griffin, however, recently told GoUpstate that the college currently isn’t hiring any new faculty or staff, and is actually in the process of eliminating 25-30 positions to “align expenses with income,” noting that Limestone’s Kingstree and Yemassee campuses are scheduled to close by July as part of the school’s “Strategic Realignment Plan.”

Colton Grace, Limestone College alumni and former Senior Class Vice President, believes that Limestone SGA’s letter is tone-deaf to the school’s financial woes.

“The members of the SGA who acted without the support of their peers are ignorant of the current budgetary constraints the institution is experiencing,” he told Campus Reform, asserting that SGA is stooping to “unwarranted social justice activism” while offering “no logical solutions for the fabricated problems of Limestone College’s so-called ‘athletic supremacy.’”

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“This display of divisive identity politics by SGA will do nothing more than create an ‘us vs them’ environment on campus,” Grace declared. “I call on SGA to retract their demands and issue an apology.”

Campus Reform reached out to Limestone SGA President Miller, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RobertMGunter