The Student News Site of Wofford College

Old Gold & Black

Breaking News
  • Issue 7 Out Now!

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Candidate Controversy

First-year+Mary+Lila+Blackburn%E2%80%99s+campaign+flyer+for+the+Campus+Union+delegate+election+with+the+slogan%2C+%E2%80%9CKeep+Wofford+Great%E2%80%9D
First-year Mary Lila Blackburn’s campaign flyer for the Campus Union delegate election with the slogan, “Keep Wofford Great”

Campus Union candidate slogan mirrors Trump 2020 slogan

The Wofford College Campus Union first-year delegate election began on Wednesday, Sept. 16 and six new delegates were announced 24 hours later on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Right in tune with the rest of 2020, the election did not come without controversy. On Tuesday, Sept. 15, a picture of a campaign flyer was posted on the Instagram account @blackatwofford, where Wofford students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been sharing testimonies exposing racism and discrimination at Wofford since the account began in June.

The flyer in question belonged to Mary Lila Blackburn ‘24, who declined to comment on the matter. The slogan on her flyer reads, “Keep Wofford Great.”

Story continues below advertisement

An anonymous student, who only identified themselves as being a member of the class of 2024 wrote in the @blackatwofford post, “Seeing this poster, a clear play on words to the racially charged agenda and filled with white supremacist undertones of its inspiration ‘Keep America Great,’ makes me sick.”

The student requested their anonymity remain in this article due to already being singled and targeted by their classmates. When asked why they reported the flyer to @blackatwofford, the student said, “after the whole re- surgence of political activism and so- cial justice, I honestly feel like it’s part of my job as a student—a minority student—on campus to speak out.”

According to Campus Union Vice President Dylan Goshorn ‘22, reports of the flyer were submitted to Campus Union on Monday, Sept. 14. The case was reviewed that day by the Elections and Nominations committee, chaired by Goshorn. The investigation revealed that no campaign rules were broken, so no sanctions were enforced.

Instead, Goshorn emailed Blackburn to “let her know there were students who felt uncomfortable and hurt by her slogan,” but emphasized that the slogan was protected by freedom of speech.

After conversations with Blackburn, Goshorn said, “I honestly can’t speak for her, but I don’t think she had any malicious intent behind it.”

Woods Wooten ‘23 personally defines “Keep Wofford Great” as meaning “to keep the many great aspects our college has to offer,” though he conceded: “I can see how this could possibly be offensive to my peers due to the divisiveness this phrase has caused in the country.”

One of the newly elected first-year delegates Kierstin Smith ‘24, understands that “anytime you’re campaigning or creating a slogan, you draw inspiration from something someone has done before.”

However, Smith continues, “Keeping things the way they are suggests that there are no injustices, which also means that there’s not going to be any change to whatever the existing problems are.”

A member of the class of ‘21, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, interprets “Keep Wofford Great” as a way to “push the place we all love and care about to continue to evolve and become better and greater, rather than aligning it with views of the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda.”

According to Dean of Students Roberta Bigger, 74.5% or 370 out of 496 first-year students voted in the election. Vice President Goshorn noted that this election turnout was higher than last year’s first-year delegate election.

The election did not result in Blackburn’s favor.

“I think it says a lot about the turn out, and who my class decided to represent them.

This was a perfect example of representation of democracy and people voting for what the common interest was,” Smith said.

On the day of the election, it appeared all of Blackburn’s flyers had been removed, but it is unclear if this was her doing, or if the flyers were taken down by other members of the Wofford Community who found them offensive.

Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wofford College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal