Students at HBCU Benedict College Told to Stay in Dorm Rooms During President Trump’s Visit

President Donald Trump (C) is awarded the Bipartisan Justice Award by Matthew Charles (R), who was released from federal prison through the First Step Act, prior to delivering remarks at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum in Columbia, South Carolina on Oct. 25, 2019. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images) …
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Students at Benedict College, one of 100 historically black colleges and universities (HCBU) were reportedly told to stay in their dormitories during President Donald Trump’s visit to campus on Friday, while the president was honored with the “Bipartisan Justice Award” for his work on criminal justice reform.

Students at Benedict College say that they were told by school officials to stay inside their dorm rooms while President Trump delivered a speech at the historically black college on Friday, according to a report by the State.

“Once the president arrives on campus, students are pretty much being told to stay in our dorms,” said senior Kevin Reese to the State. Another Benedict student, sophomore Nia Byas, described the campus as being on “lockdown.”

The request that students stay in their dormitories was part of a “safety plan” that Benedict College officials reportedly created with the assistance of the Secret Service, according to the school’s spokesperson, Kymm Hunter, who added that classes had also been cancelled, but that “if anyone needed to go to work or to another building, it was not a problem.”

The report added that students said they were told to stay inside their dorms from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Some may find the dormitory request by Benedict College officials bizarre, given that President Trump’s popularity among black Americans has reportedly been surging since the 2016 election, with the executive director for the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, Bruce LeVell, predicting the president will win even higher levels of support among the black community in 2020.

Reese, who said he is neither a supporter nor an opponent of the president, told the State that while he understood the school’s desire for security, he saw no reason why officials couldn’t secure a small campus such as Benedict, given that the president is always speaking at massive events in other venues.

“Sure, I would love to go to the event,” said Reese. “Just to hear a sitting president, I wouldn’t want to miss that.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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