Law students and community members protest outside the Albert L. Turner Law Building on Nov. 5. Photo by Kaylee Sciacca/Echo co-editor-in-chief.

Racist comments by NCCU law student create campus tension

November 13, 2018

On Oct. 30, Ryan Fincher, who is not an N.C. Central University student, decided to share a Facebook posting made by Morgan Kendall, a third-year NCCU law student, with the NCCU Friends Public Group Facebook page.

In the posting Kendall had written “wish I could take credit,”  referring to an ABC News Special Report that broke news that suspicious packages had been sent to CNN, the Clintons and the Obamas.

In response, Jamaal Hailey posted a comment: “How sway. Someone’s never been called a nigger or jumped for being black and my personal favorite you can’t carry a gun your black.”

Kendall responded, “But that nigger can still vote, drive, and go to school right?”

She used the same racial slur responding to a post by Jolanda Kendall, who is not related to Morgan Kendall.

“Morgan Kendall I thought I was done discussing politics and such on FB but you’ve awaken the beast. I’m honestly just confused as to why you’d even type that word and feel like it’s okay. Racism manifests itself in many ways daily in this country you thinking you can freely use that [word] lets me know that you’re well aware of that.”

Morgan Kendall was supposed to return to school Nov. 5, but has not been to school yet. Now other law students have organized walkouts and silent protests and have created shirts that say, “Not my classmate.”

“I hate that she let that word  come out her mouth, or wrote that word out, however you want to say it,” said Jazemine Mcsween, a fellow third-year student at NCCU. “I thought we were friends. Until now.”

Mcsween said she has known Morgan Kendall since the summer of 2016 but has cut ties with her after the incident.

Disappointed about the dark and heavy cloud hanging over the School of Law, Mcsween said that even if people don’t know about the situation, the tension can be felt in the atmosphere.

With everything that Kendall has stated on social media, Mcsween and others argue that the school of law should do more than what they are doing to protect the students at NCCU.

”People who know Kendall know that she likes to hunt, and she has guns,” said Mcsween.

The School of Law has always had security, according to Bernita Cooper, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing at the school of law.

“Safety precautions have always been in place,” said Cooper. ”They have just been upped a notch.”

Third-year law student Tanita Holmes said that safety is an issue, but it’s not the main issue.

“Yeah, they have taken safety issues very seriously, but that’s because they want us to shut up,” said Holmes.

Holmes explained that faculty has warned students not to rock the boat, but Holmes said that it feels as if the faculty is not even going to acknowledge what Kendall has posted.

“It feels like she’s the one being protected,” Victoria Roukas, another third-year law student, said about Kendall.

Roukas, Holmes and Mcsween have all agreed that Kendall should be expelled from school and forbidden to practice law in North Carolina.  They say they won’t be satisfied until all of those things happen.

“We want her to face consequences,” said Holmes, who claimed the school is giving Kendall “accommodations.”  

Cooper sent out statements to the media regarding Kendall’s actions on behalf of Elaine O’Neal, Interim Dean at the NCCU School of Law.  Cooper says that she cannot release any information on Kendall because she is still a student and the investigation is ongoing. Right now the school of law is operating on single entry and exit systems.

New safety measures may be in place at the law school, but that does not mean the end of the fight for justice. A silent protest outside of the law building is scheduled for Nov. 14 at 5 p.m.

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