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Kennesaw State Reverses Cheerleader Change

November 9, 2017
 
 

Kennesaw State University has reversed the change to its pre-game policy that took the cheerleaders off the field during the playing of the national anthem. 

The policy change was put in place after a group of five cheerleaders took a knee during the anthem, although the university maintained that the timing of the change was coincidental. Activists cried foul, and public records and text messages dug up by activists and local media put that claim under further scrutiny, and the University System of Georgia announced a review of the matter.

The review of the matter is still ongoing, but the reversal of the policy comes a week before the System Board of Regents is set to meet. It also comes just days before the football team’s military appreciation game. Critics of those who take a knee during the anthem -- a form of protest done to call attention to police brutality and racism -- have said it is disrespectful to the military.

Davante Lewis, a brother of one of the cheerleaders who has acted as a spokesman for cheerleaders, dubbed the Kennesaw 5, said the timing of the change was suspicious, though he welcomed it. “The timing seems very political and leaves more questions to be answered,” Lewis said in a statement. 

Kennesaw President Sam Olens said he was making the change to protect the cheerleaders First Amendment rights.

“While I believe there are more effective ways to initiate an exchange of ideas on issues of national concern, the right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment must be protected,” he said in a statement.

 

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