President of Benedict College responds to criticism over President Trump visit

Published: Oct. 24, 2019 at 5:57 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The President of Benedict College has come under scrutiny in the lead up to President Trump’s visit to the HBCU.

In an anonymous, unsigned letter that claimed to be from concerned alumni, critics cited Trump’s policies they claim have hurt African Americans.

However, despite the letter being nameless, President Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis responded directly to that criticism.

In a Facebook post, Wednesday she wrote, “the African American experience in this country has been one of systematic disenfranchisement. Changes in law and policy are made by leaders on both sides of the aisle. No political party owns the African American experience.

The letter also criticizing Trump’s recent remarks equating the impeachment inquiry to a lynching, comments Artis called “grossly inappropriate.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who will be speaking Saturday in a forum and townhall, made a similar comment in 1998 calling the Clinton impeachment inquiry a “partisan lynching.” Biden recently apologized after criticizing the President for his comments.

Artis is being criticized despite not being the one who invited the President. All presidential candidates, including Trump, were invited by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center.

But she does feel despite the criticism, this event will be beneficial to the students at Benedict College.

“The President will be speaking about criminal just reform,” Artis told WIS, “If we can keep people focused on that singular issue regardless of partisan politics than we win. [Students] get out of this conference what we anticipated,” she continued.

She wants to emphasize criminal justice reform is a bipartisan issue, and this weekend highlights this point.

“It’s difficult to separate feelings about individuals whether they are Republican or Democrat,” Artis said. “You can understand people’s emotions and strong feelings for a candidate, and that noise makes it difficult to find common solutions to common problems in our country,” she continued.

Also, Benedict’s President says Friday classes are canceled and no students or faculty are required to attend the weekend’s events.

But, she believes as people experience the weekend’s discussions, speeches, and events, they’ll “come around.”

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