Police Presence Planned for Start of ‘White Racism’ Class

When a “White Racism” class meets Tuesday at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), at least two campus police officers will be on guard as a precaution.

Today marks the start of the spring semester at FGCU, and Tuesday will be the first time the class meets. The course has caused controversy due to its name and garnered national media attention.

“We have prepared for any possible distractions related to Tuesday’s first class of the White Racism course, but we are expecting normal campus civility as our students engage in this and other courses at the spring semester’s start,” Susan Evans, FGCU’s spokeswoman and chief of staff, said in an email.

Ted Thornhill, the assistant professor of sociology who will teach the class, said he received some disturbing emails and voicemails after news of the class spread. He also said a couple of students enrolled in the class talked to him about safety concerns.

“I think most of us don’t anticipate there being any unrest or protest or anything like that,” Thornhill said. “But it’s more of a prudent measure to have law enforcement present just in case.”

Sociology major Ché Hall, 20, is one of the 50 students signed up to take the course. She said she has heard chatter about students showing up on the first day of class just to see if others cause problems, but it’s not something she is too concerned about.

“I think a lot of people who said that they would come to start issues are just saying that and won’t actually come,” she said.

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