Suspension Lifted Against UNF White Supremacist Student But He Can’t Return To Campus

Nov 21, 2017

University of North Florida President John Delaney said in a statement Thursday the suspension against UNF student Ken Parker, who has a history as a white supremacist, has been lifted.

However, Delaney also said Parker would not be allowed to return to campus, except for his next hearing.

Wednesday a university panel composed of 50 percent students and 50 percent faculty/staff decided to lift Parker’s immediate suspension.

The bottom line: Parker will be allowed to continue his classes, but not on campus.

“I have reasonably forecasted that this student's unsupervised presence on campus would pose a risk to his personal safety and would cause a substantial disruption of, and material interference with, the University's learning environment as well as the rights and safety of other students, staff and faculty. Thus, he will be prohibited from entering campus, except for his next hearing, for which he will be required to have a police escort,” Delaney said in a statement.

Delaney said the faculty teaching the classes Parker is taking have agreed to offer accommodations that will allow him to finish the semester either off campus or online.

UNF Student Ken Parker was suspended after a threatening message and image was distributed on social media.
Credit Submitted to WJCT News / Via Facebook Messenger

Parker remains formally charged with several conduct violations.  He was suspended last week for a social media message showing him holding a gun and threatening members of the Students for a Democratic Society, a group associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Delaney anticipates his Parker’s formal conduct hearing will be held within approximately 30 school days.

More than 50 students, faculty members and community activists gathered at the University of North Florida Monday to protest Parker’s actions.

WJCT News saw four people outside Alumni Hall to support Parker on Monday.

UNF President John Delaney’s Thursday Statement On Ken Parker

As you know, a panel met yesterday to decide if the immediate suspension of a self-identified white supremacist student who made various social media postings should stand. By University regulation, the panel was composed of 50 percent students and 50 percent faculty/staff. After meeting with the student, the panel deliberated and decided to lift his immediate suspension, which means he will be allowed to continue his classes.

However, in the interest of the safety and welfare of both the student and the entire campus community and based on the totality of circumstances, I have reasonably forecasted that this student's unsupervised presence on campus would pose a risk to his personal safety and would cause a substantial disruption of, and material interference with, the University's learning environment as well as the rights and safety of other students, staff and faculty. Thus, he will be prohibited from entering campus, except for his next hearing, for which he will be required to have a police escort.

This is for his own safety as well as the safety of others on campus. Substantial disruptions have been caused to date and there is a reasonable expectation that those disruptions to the learning and living environment would continue and may possibility escalate if he is allowed on campus.

Faculty teaching his classes have agreed to offer accommodations that will allow him to finish the semester either off campus or online. So, while the suspension from classes has been lifted, he won't be allowed on campus until the next stage of the conduct process.

As of today, the student has now been formally charged with several conduct violations, and we anticipate this formal conduct hearing will be held within approximately 30 school days.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard from hundreds of concerned students, faculty, staff and parents. There's outrage and there's fear over racism and the threat of violence.

Please know that I take the safety of everyone in the campus community very seriously.

Video of Monday's Protest Against Parker

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.