• Sarah T. Jackson and Shelbi R. Ankiewicz

Turning point for university free speech


Faculty, staff, and students engage in discussion in front of Singleton building.

Critical race theory, posters, and approval processes were the focus of students and staff who attended a protest of in front of the Singleton building on Feb. 18.

Friday’s 9 a.m. Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting started with student leaders and members of various student organizations such as NAACP, NPHC, and Social Justice Club coming together in protest. Students who gathered in front of the Singleton stairs chanted in protest of posters opposing Critical Race Theory and featuring Martin Luther King Jr.

The posters were made by Turning Point USA, a conservative club on campus.

Those who were present in the meeting included many prominent University administrators, including Coastal President Michael Benson, Chief of Staff Travis Overton, Associate Provost Jim Solazzo, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Atiya Stokes-Brown, University Counsel Carlos Johnson, Senior Vice President for Finance/Chief Financial Officer David Frost, Interim Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement Diane Sanders. The campus leaders came outside to speak with the student protestors.


The students voiced their concerns about the conservative club’s posters, which featured two quotes, one by Martin Luther King Jr., and one by club vice president Ryne Stark.

“’CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH AND VALENTINE’S DAY BY CHOOSING LOVE OVER CRITICAL HATE THEORY’ – RYNE STARK,” the Turning Point poster read.

Following heated conversation, Overton made several promises to the students, including Benson attending monthly meetings with student leaders as well as looking into how the poster was approved.