JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A former KKK grand dragon and current UNF student is still under suspension after posting a “threatening” picture online showing him holding an M-16.
On Monday, Kenneth Parker appealed that suspension by attending a student conduct hearing at the university.
A group who identifies as “Southern white nationalists” told First Coast News they planned to rally outside of the hearing in support of Parker, so First Coast News told the university and in turn, a group of counter-protestors showed up, outnumbering Parker’s group about 75 to four.
The first to show up outside Alumni Hall Monday morning were UNF faculty and staff bearing signs of their own.
David Jaffee was the first person on the scene. He is a sociology professor at UNF and faculty advisor for Students for a Democratic Society.
“I want to participate because I am sympathetic to the cause but I also want to make sure it’s safe and that no one gets arrested,” Jaffee said.
The students were not far behind the teacher. They chanted and preached unity for nearly two hours. Across from them, separated by police officers, stood Parker’s four supporters, including his fiancé Crystal Moore.
The protests remained peaceful, to the university’s delight, but many students questioned UNF President John Delaney’s response to the whole situation since it marked the second racial controversy in the past couple months.
“John Delaney do your job, get rid of this Nazi scum,” the students chanted.
Delaney later praised law enforcement for keeping everything civil and he, along with the university, sent out another statement condemning hate speech.
First Coast News exclusively obtained an email conversation between him and students who had met with him and expressed concern. In those emails, Delaney elaborates on his feelings about this situation, “As I said in that meeting, we can act on conduct, but not on speech. This is the work of one sad sick man. For my whole career, I have stood against all discrimination. I don’t own the actions of this man any more than you do. He is not a reflection of the university as a whole but is a reminder that we need to always stand against discrimination.”
After the hearing, Parker told First Coast News he did have regrets and wished he had never posted the controversial photo in the first place.
He says if he gets expelled he will file a lawsuit claiming they violated his civil liberties.
UNF says bringing extra law enforcement in on Monday only cost them some overtime for campus police and since JSO was on a training day already they were able to help out free of charge. They plan to have extra security all week.
The two students and two staff members who sat on Parker’s appeal hearing panel wish to remain anonymous and tell us they do not wish to make any comments.
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