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Erickson's Talk at Mercer Draws Protests | News

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Erickson's Talk at Mercer Draws Protests
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Erick Erickson, a former Macon City Council member and Fox News contributor is scheduled to be key speaker at this year's Founder's Day celebration at Mercer University.

The university says Erickson will speak on campus Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Mark Vanderhoek, Mercer's director of media relations, said Erickson has also agreed to be part of a question-and-answer discussion that same afternoon titled, "Civility in Politics." 

Vanderhoek said that session will include questions from attendees, directed at Erickson.

The invitation extended to the radio and television pundit has caused a minor controversy on campus. 

In an opinion column that appeared in this week's edition of "The Cluster," Mercer's student newspaper, student Joshua Whitfield wrote that Erickson "made his fame and fortune through a career of incessant vitriol and extremism."

The students suggested that in the future, when selecting speakers of Founder's Day, the Student Government Association (SGA) should "make the process more transparent in order to invite a speaker who better exemplifies the Mercer ethos of cultivating inclusivity and civic engagement."

Reached while boarding a flight to New York, Erickson said, "I am honored the students asked me to speak. I am a bit disappointed that some would rather make the event about me instead of the university, but I am happy to assist the university in making the day as harmonious as possible."

On the Mercer Cluster website, SGA President Mollie Davis responded to concerns by saying, "Mr. Erickson's political beliefs will not be the focus of the Founder's Day event. As Mercerians, we pride ourselves in upholding a community of respect on campus in which dialogue welcomes opposing and diverse views when expressed with professionalism and consideration for others."    

The Wednesday morning Founder's Day address is at 10 a.m. in Willingham Hall and the afternoon Q&A starts at 2 p.m. in Penfield Hall. Neither event is open to the public.

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