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Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 12:43pm

Mercer Students Split Over Pundit's Talk

Updated: 1 year ago.
The selection of conservative pundit Erick Erickson to speak at Mercer University's annual Founders' Day celebration has divided the campus community. (Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

Controversy swirls on the Mercer University campus ahead of the annual Founders' Day.

The event Wednesday is billed a celebration of the university’s history, but some students and faculty have been put-off by the choice of speaker.

Former Macon City Councilor Erick Erickson edits the conservative blog Red State dot com, hosts an Atlanta radio show, and as of a last week is the newest political commentator at Fox News.

He’s known for an occasionally brusque style, having jokingly referred to the Democratic convention last fall as “the Vagina Monologues.”

Erickson also holds two degrees from Mercer, which is why the Student Government Association picked him to speak, said president Mollie Davis.

"We understood that there might be some kind of reaction to Mr. Erickson as a speaker because he’s not necessarily a traditional Founders' Day speaker," Davis said. "However he is still a Mercer alum and is successful in his profession and that’s what we chose him on the basis of.”

Still, some students have threatened to boycott the morning event.

"If Mercer is dedicated to the values of civic responsibility, to respectful and civil dialogue, then why would it choose Erickson to speak at the event?" asked Mercer junior Joshua Whitfield, rhetorically.

Erickson says he's not planning to talk politics in his speech, focusing instead on his time at the university.

Administrators responded to the outcry by booking Erickson for a second event in the afternoon — a Q & A with students where the topic will be "civility in politics."

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