by Haley Worth
Tennessee State University announced it has hired MSNBC host and progressive activist Rev. Al Sharpton as a Distinguished Guest Lecturer.
Beginning in January 2021, Sharpton will teach “in the area of political science grounded in social justice during the academic term.” Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover said that Sharpton has been an important part of shaping history.
The announcement of Sharpton’s new position posted on the university’s website calls him an “icon,” who “brings wealth” to politics.
Glover expressed the university’s excitement, stating that Sharpton will be able to provide insight for the students: “We are excited to have the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights icon, serve as a distinguished guest lecturer at our university.”
“His presence means our students will be able to engage with a piece of history at a time when his insight is more relevant than ever before,” she added.
Glover added that he has helped shape history and that his role at the university will be a great opportunity for students to learn.
“Not only does Rev. Sharpton know American history and the role African Americans have played to shape that history, he has been an intricate piece of it as well. This will be an amazing opportunity for our students to learn from an individual who comes from the pages of the history books they are reading, and to gain knowledge directly from the source,” Glover continued.
Sharpton stated he is honored to be a part of the university and will discuss issues that affect the Black community in class.
“The course I will teach will examine political science and social justice from the lens of recent cases – many of which I have directly worked on as a civil rights leader and it will look at shifting politics in the new administration relating to issues directly impacting Black communities,” Sharpton said.
In the late 1980s, Sharpton spoke in support of Tawana Brawley case, a woman who accused a group of white men of kidnap and rape. Brawley, who also accused the men of writing racial slurs on her body, was dismissed by a grand jury when they determined she fabricated the story. In 1998, county prosecutor Steven Pagones won a $65,000 defamation lawsuit against Sharpton, who had accused him of being one of the attackers.
Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars discussed the university hiring Sharpton with Campus Reform stating, “Steven Pagones successfully sued Al Sharpton for defaming his character in the course of perpetrating the Tawana Brawley rape hoax. Sharpton has never apologized to Pagones. Sharpton is morally responsible for inciting Roland Smith to murder seven people at Freddy’s Fashion Mart – although he managed to avoid legal liability.
“Any American organization that allows Sharpton to be associated with it, without condemning him for his reprehensible behavior, itself deserves the severest moral condemnation. Tennessee State University (TSU) has now joined MSNBC and the Democratic Party, among other American organizations, in this roster of shame. The only silver lining of TSU’s action is that it allows Tennessee’s taxpayers to know what the higher education establishment means by ‘political science grounded in social justice.’”
Campus Reform reached out to TSU for comment but was referred to the announcement on the school’s website.
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Haley Worth is a Minnesota Campus Correspondent with Campus Reform. She is a junior at Saint Cloud State University, majoring in Political Science. On campus, Haley was the President of the Turning Point USA chapter. She was also the Grassroots Youth Director of Matt Gurtler’s Congressional Campaign for the primary runoff election in Georgia. Haley is a Fall 2020 Campus Reform intern.
Photo “Al Sharpton” by Al Sharpton.