By Eliza Cana
A fight broke out today between the president of Deborah Stephens University and a student minutes after the president announced his resignation following a series of racial conflicts on campus. The president, Jayre McClellan, was responsible for approving a Nov. 13 fraternity party that allegedly had racist activity.
Students on campus protested what they believed was the president’s lack of action on racial conflicts. One of his biggest critics was student leader Parker Westin, who was attacked by McClellan at the end of the press conference.
“We did not feel like he was doing enough to address the issue of this university,” said Westin, president of Concerned Students 1738, a black student union. “He said today is the worst day of his life, well today is the happiest day of my life.”
Tensions between McClellan and Westin built when the two spoke out at the press conference on their experiences.
McClellan admitted that he should not have approved Theta Gamma Alpha’s “pimps and hoes” party. It was rumored that students at the party were wearing “black face” where people paint their faces brown to pretend to be black. It was also rumored that a noose was hung on the tree in front of the house. The president said it was makeup and it was ignorant but he did not conclude the truth of the matter.
“I believe in free speech,” he said, “they said it was a fundraiser for their organization, they were just college kids having fun.”
Westin said the philosophy of the black student union was to get the whole student body to be able to recognize the racial tensions happening on campus. He said faculty should do more to combat racist activity on campus.
“We have the power to force them to resign,” he said, “and that is what I believe is the most effective of this situation.”
Jym Jahnson, Deborah Stephens University football coach for 10 years said he stands behind his players wholeheartedly and said McClellan did not care about them.
“My players were not going to play at the game unless the president resigned,” he said, “and I supported it 100 percent.”
The president admitted he had an unpleasant reputation at Stephens University.
“Clearly they didn’t like me,” he said, “people were going on hunger strikes, tearing up cars and just acting a fool but they didn’t like me so I resigned.”