Georgia State University student Patrick Sharp did something this summer that plenty of students do in college — he started a club on campus. But his group is catching a little more attention than most.
Sharp started a club called the “White Student Union.” Sharp insists that though the name may startle some at first, his group is only about celebrating European and Euro-American heritage — not hating anyone of a different heritage.
“I sort of took it upon myself, kind of with inspiration from Matthew Heimbach's group in Maryland, at Towson University," Sharp said. The Towson University group is also called the White Student Union.
Many on the GSU campus are reportedly uncomfortable with the group. One student group, the Progressive Student Alliance, has been posting flyers around campus that equate the White Student Union to a white supremacy group.
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Sharp’s response to them?
"You know, to say this is some closeted or curtained white supremacy, it's pretty — and I'll go ahead and turn their words around on them — it's pretty ignorant and close-minded," Sharp said. "It's a pride organization, it's a cultural organization, what we have is not hate for any other group ... Whites are becoming a minority ... We have a voice, we're unique people and we have every right to make that voice heard."
Douglass Covey, the vice president for Student Affairs at GSU, said the school has received six emails from students voicing concerns about the union’s purpose. But as long as the group is an informal organization, Covey says the White Student Union has every right to exist. If the club wishes to become an official GSU-sponsored group, however, they will have to go through the same application process that 300 other official GSU clubs have.
"The campus, as a public institution, is a place where freedom of speech and association and the liberal exchange of different points of view is cherished and protected," Covey said. "And any group that wishes to seek recognition must meet the standards of alignment with institutional mission and non-discrimination. And any group which wishes to exist informally, without institutional affiliation, certainly is free to do so, just as a right of their citizenship."
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Sharp hopes the club, which currently only has a few members, will grow once more students are back on campus in the fall. He hopes to soon work together with clubs representing other ethnicities on charitable causes as well.