A planned series of events that took place at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina this weekend has led to political fallout as the school co-hosted the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum and welcomed the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center as well as city Mayor Stephen Benjamin.
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Controversy initially ensued when President Donald Trump came to speak during a visit to the historically black college where he gave a keynote speech before accepting a Bipartisan Justice Award for his work on criminal justice forum.
Campus was on lockdown for his appearance; protocol directed by secret service and White House, according to Benedict administrative officials. Students were required to remain where they were once the president arrived on campus, and just a small select handful of honor students were permitted inside the forum. Everybody else had to remain in their dorm rooms or watch the forum remotely.
“I’m not upset about [Trump] coming on campus, I’m upset about not being able to come and attend the event,” said Luis de La Mora, a 19-year-old sophomore at Benedict. He told ABC News that he was disappointed that weren’t more accommodations made for the students.
“Only the most exclusive kind of people are allowed to go in,” de la Mora said. “For me it feels a little exploitative to say this is such a progressive move, since this is the first time Trump would be visiting an HBCU, at least our little HBCU. It’s supposed to be a shining moment when the world is paying attention to our little institution, but our students don’t really get to do anything about it.”
In a press conference on Friday, Mayor Benjamin told reporters he was concerned about the low amount of students who were able to attend the forum.
“ I think every time you have the opportunity to expose more young people to public service, to politics, to new ideas, I think we need to avail ourselves to them,” Benjamin said.” I wish more had the opportunity to participate today.”
Meg Kinnard/AP Images
A supporter of President Donald Trump, right, clashes with an anti-Trump protester, left, outside the pre