Scholarship News

Former KKK Leader Appeals College Suspension for Gun Photo


November 21, 2017 1:17 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Photo credit: The Florida Times-Union
A former KKK leader with swastika tattoos attending the University of North Florida was suspended a week ago, but was back on campus on Monday to appeal the university's decision. The school had prepared for a possible neo-Nazi rally by supporters during the hearing, but only four people came out to support Ken Parker; while roughly 80 counter protestors made an appearance.
Photo credit: The Florida Times-Union

A former KKK leader with swastika tattoos attending the University of North Florida was suspended a week ago, but was back on campus on Monday to appeal the university's decision. The school had prepared for a possible neo-Nazi rally by supporters during the hearing, but only four people came out to support Ken Parker; while roughly 80 counter protestors made an appearance.

Parker was suspended from the university after he posted a picture of himself on social media last week holding a gun and “expressing in the caption that if anyone from the left-wing Students for a Democratic society chapter aimed to challenge him, he would 'shut them down.'" Students who hold similar beliefs as Parker have historically been protected under the First Amendment, but university officials believed that "the combination of the gun and the caption constituted a threat, which was why Parker was suspended."

Even though the University of Florida was fairly confident that the number of protestors would be small, Parker's appeal hearing was still moved to a building farther from the center of campus as a precaution, according to Inside Higher Ed. There was also talk about canceling classes that day, but university officials decided to continue with the regular schedule.

A final decision has yet to be made as to whether or not Parker would remain suspended. In your opinion, is suspension appropriate for this incident and other similar types of incidents? Leave your thoughtful comments below.

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Andrew K  on  11/22/2017 11:59:22 AM commented:

I do agree with the suspension, and and also think further actions should be taken to prevent a mass shooting

Gary  on  11/22/2017 6:17:57 AM commented:

Our kid attends this university. Numerous troublesome issues have occured throughout the semester, so we are considering options that include a transfer. I am an ardent proponent of the 1st amendment, but this wreaks of stupidity and racist behavior that should not be tolerated on a college campus. For goodness sake, kids attend college to learn and not be disrupted by such ignorance. UNF- Do the right thing and expel this thug!

I agree as well  on  11/22/2017 5:50:20 AM commented:

I agree with the suspension also because of the gun. He is also taking away other students' rights to choose their political party and run for campus offices. I would agree with the officials; the gun and the caption constitute a threat, not only to others students' physical health, but their rights as a student.

Mike P.  on  11/21/2017 6:51:41 PM commented:

I believe that no university should prevent any speaker from peacefully voicing an opinion or idea. However, I believe they were justified in the suspension due to the visible threat that was shown in the social media post.

Faith T  on  11/21/2017 6:03:10 PM commented:

I believe further action should be taken aside from just a suspension, he should be expelled. I understand everyone has their own beliefs but when you begin to threaten the lives of other students due to a difference of opinions and beliefs. People like that have no room on a college campus as he puts it 'shut it down'

Dream Owens  on  11/21/2017 4:30:54 PM commented:

I agree with the suspension. That is unacceptable and crosses the boundaries of freedom of beliefs.

Glenn Coco  on  11/21/2017 4:14:08 PM commented:

I agree with the suspension because of the involvement of the gun. This can not only make university student feel uneasy, but threatened when going to school. He could have protested peacefully and still sent out a similar message.

Chaniya S.  on  11/21/2017 3:33:20 PM commented:

I feel as if the school maybe a wise decision by suspending him, but for everyone’s safety he should not be allowed to return .

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