Dillard student group plans protest of David Duke debate appearance

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – A group of students at Dillard University is calling on the historically black institution to ban David Duke from tonight’s U.S. Senate debate.

The group, Socially Engaged Dillard University Students, seeks to prevent “Neo-Nazi Klansman David Duke” from attending the debate, which is sponsored by WVUE and Raycom Media.

“His presence on our campus is not welcome, and overtly subjects the entire student body to safety risks and social ridicule,” SEDUS representatives wrote in an open letter. “This is simply outrageous.”

Duke qualified for the debate, which is closed to the public, by garnering at least five percent support in polling for the Senate race.

While the SEDUS letter acknowledges the importance of the Senate election and the debate itself, it draws the line at the inclusion of at Duke, a former Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard.

“Everything David Duke promotes is an anathema to us, a Historically Black College & University,” the letter said. “Instead of denying the presence of this terrorist onto our campus, our school’s president has assured his safety by Dillard University armed police, against us, the Dillard University student body.”

The student group included a list of demands, most of which involve ensuring the safety of Dillard students.

The demands include requiring all non-permitted vehicles to park off campus, allowing 150 students selected by a lottery to attend the debate, the drafting of a statement by Dillard officials condemning the KKK and Nazi Party, clearance for an on campus protest, and the redirection of any funds generated by the debate to programs educating the community on the impact of racism in politics.

If the students aren’t allowed to conduct their protest on Dillard’s campus, they plan to set up on the public space on St. Anthony and Gentilly Boulevard, near the campus.

Check back for updates on the planned protest and the subsequent debate.