By: Ashley Frost, Contributor
At approximately 2:30 P.M. on Sept. 11th, students received an email from President Davis describing a trespassing incident on campus that had occurred the previous morning. Her email stated that a “young, African-American alumnus” was given a trespass notice after North Village complaints regarding a motorcycle engine revving. Then, when an officer was sent to the scene (it was noted in President Davis’ email that this officer was “also African-American”), he observed “the alumnus driving dangerously toward and around a car driven by a student… then observed the alumnus following the driver of that car into the chapel parking lot.” The officer then felt “that an altercation might ensue.”
The young alumnus, Andrej Suttles, was then approached by the officer, interviewed, and given a trespass notice. A trespass notice from Furman Police, if not appealed, is a banishment from campus. After the event occured, Police Chief Milby reportedly reached out to Suttles to discuss the trespass appeal, but as of Sept. 23, Suttles has not called back. It was also reported that Chief Diversity Officer Michael Jennings scheduled a meeting with Suttles. However, Suttles canceled.
Suttles did make a Facebook post outlining what happened to him that morning. He had driven by to drop off homework to a current student, and, when leaving, was flipped off by a student driving down the mall. He then pulled into the chapel lot to put an address into his GPS. He remained on his vehicle and did not pursue the student driving the car. It is important to note that the post did not refer to racial bias in any way.
Support from current students and alumni began to pour in on his behalf in the comments section of his post. A current professor said, “Without words. I am sorry, my friend. If I can ever stand with you, you know I will.” Another supporter said, “So disappointing! If I could go back in time I’d pick a different school, 100%.” Other alumni were “speechless,” and hopeful that Furman would apologize.
Instead, however, Furman circulated the aforementioned email sent by President Davis which summarized the incident. In response, Suttles took to Facebook to update his followers. Suttles, a Paladins All-American and Record Holder for the men’s football team, a summer camp counselor, and current mentor to several Furman students, said “I am much much more than an ‘African American’ alumnus.” He also mentioned that, “after reviewing the unfortunate letter circulated by Furman University President, Elizabeth Davis, I have found it necessary to retain counsel to ensure that my rights are protected.”