The student who is responsible for creating a controversial "White Student Union" at Georgia State University has accused opponents of the group of being "ignorant and closed-minded."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday reported that official at the university had started receiving complaints soon after freshman Patrick Sharp started his club, which he says is intended to celebrate European and Euro-American history.
"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 paper. "Why is it when a white person says he is proud to be white he’s shunned as a racist?"
About 38 percent of Georgia State students are white, while 35 percent are black, 12 percent are Asian and 7 percent are Latino.
"I sort of took it upon myself, kind of with inspiration from Matthew Heimbach's group in Maryland, at Towson University," Sharp said.
But protest fliers have now started showing up on campus comparing Sharp's group with Nazis and white supremacists.
"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 closed-minded," he explained to WXIA. "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."
Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Covey acknowledged that the university had received at least six complaints so far, but he said Sharp had a right to speech even if some found it offensive.
"The campus, as a public institution, is a place where freedom of speech and association and the liberal exchange of different points of few is cherished and protected," Covey insisted. "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."
Watch this video from WXIA, broadcast Aug. 1, 2013.