KENNESAW, Ga. - Some Kennesaw State University students took a break from class Monday to march in support of the school’s cheerleaders who took a knee during the national anthem.
The students said they're protesting against police brutality and social injustices. Even the school’s mascot, Scrappy the Owl, marched with students.
The student who serves as the school's mascot said he is ready to lose his position over the issue. He said he put on the costume with the athletic department's permission and represented the university in the march. He said it's not right what's going on, and he knows the consequences he could face.
"Why does my skin color scare you? Why does my hair scare you? Why does my passion, my anger? Why does that scare you?" asked one protester.
The latest rally on campus is in response to the KSU cheerleaders who took a knee during the national anthem. Students said those cheerleaders have the right to protest and the university shouldn't tell them they can't.
"I love the movement. The students are out here, risking GPAs, missing class, some people are missing work. The cheerleaders are silenced like that… just injustice. It isn't right," said Scrappy the Owl.
But not everyone shares the group's sentiments, like senior Cameron Johnson whose father is a veteran
"I really don't see the point in it. People are protesting the anthem. They think it has something to do with. I just think it's totally irrelevant. I have family members who were in the military. People of all colors, creeds have died for the flag and anthem so I don't see why to take a knee is going to send a message to Donald Trump that's going to solve the problem it's not," said Johnson.
However, other students said they don't see kneeling during the anthem as a sign of disrespect
"I don't think these are direct relationships to the military and what people are protesting. People are just expressing their feeling about the country, but that does mean they directly hate America. They hate the military. I don't think it's a fair relationship to make," said Tia Gordon.
The students said they plan to hold more protests in the future.
KSU released the following Wednesday regarding the appearance of Scrappy at the protest:
“The Kennesaw State Department of Athletics has a policy that governs appearances by the KSU mascot. Requests are submitted through an online form and reviewed and approved by Athletic Department personnel.
“The mascot's participation at yesterday's event did not follow the appropriate policy; an official request was not made to the department and the department did not provide approval for the mascot’s participation. Officials with KSU's Department of Athletics and University administrators are reviewing the situation to determine whether action may be warranted.”