NAACP boycott may affect vacation plans

(U-WIRE) DURHAM, N.C. – If the early response from many Duke students is any indication, the power of the NAACP’s tourism boycott in South Carolina will keep some Duke students away from Myrtle Beach this May.

Though students who support the boycott are doing so with fervor, others insist the issue will not keep them away from Myrtle’s surf and sand after finals week.

Protesting the Confederate flag flying above the state capitol, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called for a boycott in South Carolina until the state’s legislature agrees to remove the flag.

Though the source of the controversy lies in a neighboring state, many student groups and individuals have a vested interest in the issue.

Duke NAACP President Kameron Matthews said the Duke chapter will do its part to persuade University students to support the boycott.

We will be asking others to seriously consider canceling their Myrtle Beach plans for May.

Though the president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the only national Greek-letter organization currently listed on the NAACP Web site as officially supporting the boycott, declined to comment, other leaders of Duke’s black fraternities and sororities were eager to voice support for the boycott.

Junior Carliss Chatman, president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., declared that her sorority would unequivocally follow the boycott.

If (the boycott) is still going during Myrtle week, our chapter won’t go, she said.

The controversy has prompted some to take an active role in the protest. Stefan France, a senior and president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., said his fraternity would try to put pressure on the South Carolina legislature by doing more than just foregoing Myrtle week.

Our national organization, in conjunction with the NAACP, has organized groups of people to protest and boycott in order to address this issue, he said.

But some students said they felt the boycott would not dissuade them from vacationing at Myrtle Beach with other Duke students.

Myrtle week is obviously a Duke tradition, and I look forward to it every year, said sophomore Carla Rothenberg. It’s too bad that South Carolina still flies the Confederate flag above the capitol, but I still plan on going.

Others took issue with the boycott itself.

It’s unfair to make the whole state suffer, said junior Dania Ermentrout, who likened the boycott against South Carolina to current United States economic sanctions against Cuba.

Senior Jim Pinna, executive vice president of Greek Affairs for the Interfraternity Council, said he had not heard of the boycott and has not put much thought into his May vacation plans yet.

(The IFC) hasn’t had its first meeting of the year yet, but I’m sure the issue will come up, he said.

-Robert KelleyThe Chronicle (Duke U.)

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