The three sons of a deceased couple who graduated from Talladega College are now returning their parents’ degrees because the Talladega marching band will partake in the upcoming presidential inauguration.
In a school-wide announcement Thursday, the marching band of the historically black college said it has accepted an invitation to perform at President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th. The decision, finalized by Talladega president Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, comes on the heels of controversy over whether the school would be promoting “racism” by allowing students to go.
In letter to Hawkins, Peter, David, and Steven Rasmussen said they are returning their parents’ degrees to Talladega because their parents would be “angered and deeply disappointed” if they knew their alma mater was sending students to perform at Trump’s inauguration. The letter claims the school’s decision indicates support for the incoming United States president, whom the Rasmussen brothers call the “antithesis” of what their parents stood for.
The late Dr. and Mrs. Rasmussen both graduated with Honorary Doctorate Degrees in Humane Letters from Talladega in 2003. The sons’ letter equates an administration under the likes of Trump and Republican Senator Jeff Sessions to the genocidal Nazi Germany, where their mother fled as a child.
“My brothers and I discussed this thoroughly, and we wouldn’t change our minds unless the Talladega College administration reverses their decision to send their marching band to celebrate racist Trump’s inauguration,” Peter Rasmussen told Red Alert Politics, confirming he has already returned his late parents’ doctorate degrees to the school.
Two petitions have appeared since the decision was pondered earlier this month: one in support of it, and one against it.
Shylexis Robinson, a member of the Talladega marching band, told CNN she was excited about the opportunity to play at Trump’s inauguration, which will “put our school on the map.”
Dollan Young, another Talladega marching band member, says he supports his band’s decision to perform at the inauguration, which he says has more to do with “seeing first hand the process of a transition” and about the “experience that the students will obtain” than with supporting Trump.
“We are not one-track thinkers and believe everyone is entitled to the own beliefs,” he wrote in an online petition.