ATLANTA (AP) _ Six students have complained after seeing fliers around Georgia State University’s campus advertising a new informal student club known as the `White Student Union,’ school officials said.
Freshman Patrick Sharp, 18, said he started the club so that students of European and Euro-American descent can celebrate their shared history and culture. Members can also discuss issues that affect white people, such as immigration and affirmative action, he said.
“If we are already minorities on campus and are soon to be minorities in this country why wouldn’t we have the right to advocate for ourselves and have a club just like every other minority?” Sharp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( “Why is it when a white person says he is proud to be white he’s shunned as a racist?”
The newspaper reported that whites comprise 38 percent of Georgia State’s student body, followed by blacks at 35 percent, Asians at 12 percent and Latinos at 7 percent.
Sharp, who is from Birmingham, Ala. and enrolled at the Atlanta school this summer, said any student can join the group and that he would work with other clubs _ such as the Black Student Alliance _ on common issues.
Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Covey said despite the complaints, the group is within its rights to exist and speech is protected regardless of whether someone finds it offensive. Although the group isn’t officially sponsored by the school, it still has the right to meet in common areas, Covey said.
Sharp said he doesn’t plan to seek official status for the group.
Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,