Let Mercer know you don't approve of bigotry being enshrined at Founders' Day.

Jay Sekulow has been announced as the keynote speaker for Mercer's 2018 Founders' Day. As alumni, this is our petition expressing our dismay at the choice of a man with a long history of racism, homophobia, and propaganda-spreading.

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Petition to Mercer Administration and Student Government Association

Dated: Jan. 26, 2018.

Recipients:  William D. Underwood, University President. Olivia Buckner, SGA President. Larry Brumley, Chief of Staff. Doug Pearson, Dean of Student Affairs.

Dear Mercer Administration and Student Government Association– 

We, the undersigned, as alumni of Mercer University, would like to express our sincere dismay at the selection of Jay Sekulow as the speaker for Mercer’s 2018 Founders’ Day. While we recognize and champion freedom of speech in campus settings, we feel strongly that Mr. Sekulow’s long and well-documented history of homophobia, racism, nationalism and anti-Muslim bigotry throughout his career make him wholly unacceptable to speak at the University’s flagship event intended to honor its heritage as an institution that upholds the dignity of all students. Mercer emphasizes as part of its required first-year curriculum the imperative of working to build Dr. King’s ‘beloved community.’ Mr. Sekulow’s divisive and dehumanizing public stances, however, do more to tear down the beloved community than to foster it. 

Mercer has a long and distinguished tradition of promoting human dignity, fostering inclusion, and celebrating differences. Yet, Mr. Sekulow’s career spent advocating for the imprisonment of LGBTQ citizens and religious tests for immigration stands in direct opposition to those values. To invite Sekulow to campus for Founders’ Day does not promote the free exchange of ideas. It promotes the scapegoating of groups of people, borne out of hatred and prejudice. 

We would welcome Mr. Sekulow to speak at an event held by a student organization –– or even as part of a special lecture series that students could voluntarily choose to attend. But to invite him to stand at the lectern of Founders’ Day risks enshrining bigotry and divisiveness as a lasting part of the Mercer heritage. 

 Some have argued that uninviting Mr. Sekulow from Founders’ Day contradicts core Mercer values – celebrating both our commonalities and our differences. While celebration of our diversity is no doubt a core Mercer value, Mr. Sekulow, unfortunately, does not share this sentiment nor celebrate the differences of people unlike himself. He has persistently called for unfair, and at times inhumane, treatment of minorities. Such views are as far from core Mercer values as one might hold. 

We, therefore, call for a swift replacement of Mr. Sekulow as the speaker to honor the dignity and humanity of all students, alumni, faculty and members of the Mercer community. We do this in unity, with full moral resolve and full clarity of vision, so that the Mercer we know and love remains a Mercer that is accepting of all people. 

With collegiate pride, 

Mercer Alumni


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