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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

The petition against Samhat

The+petition+against+Samhat

On Jan. 31, 2017, “Concerned Stakeholders of Wofford” started an online petition on change.org against President Nayef Samhat and Vice President of Marketing and Communications Annie Mitchell. The petition, titled Wofford: Encourage healthy debate and don’t stifle speech, was a response to Samhat’s statement released the day prior regarding the Trump administration’s executive order limiting foreign immigration. The petition gained 254 supporters. It read:

“A hallmark of a liberal arts education is the ability for students and professors to debate and discuss all sides of any societal issue. Since his arrival at Wofford, President Samhat has taken public political stances that have been tied to Wofford College. In the most recent example of this, yesterday President Samhat publically called President Trump’s order an ‘executive order [that] is in direct conflict with the values we hold dear at Wofford College.’ President Samhat not only used Wofford resources to advertise his stance, but he also tied our beloved college to a political position. Since his arrival, President Samhat has increasingly politicized the values of our college.

“So how does this stifle free speech? President Samhat has every right as a private citizen to take political stances. However, by utilizing his official position and the Wofford platform to advertise and advance his political stances, President Samhat stifles those on campus who may disagree with him. Faculty members must now think twice about speaking against the official policy of the college for the fear of academic retribution. Students who support the opposite of President Samhat’s stance may feel marginalized or unable to express their viewpoints on campus.

Those signed below value free speech and the free exchange of ideas. We call on President Samhat to not tie Wofford to official political positions in the future nor utilize Wofford’s resources to take political positions. Not all of us support President Trump’s position, but nor do we endorse our Alma Mater taking a stand in the debate. We are conservatives, liberals, and libertarians who believe that Woffords’ best values are in its non-partisanship and ability to entertain many different ideas!”

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