The Ku Klux Klan will hold a rally in support of the Augusta State University counseling student who claims her First Amendment rights were violated when the school ordered her to learn more about the homosexual community.
Bobby Spurlock, who identified himself as imperial wizard knighthawk and grand dragon of South Carolina and North Carolina, said the KKK has met with school officials and plans to protest the school's treatment of 24-year-old Jennifer Keeton on Oct. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. Klan members will be in full dress across from the school's main Walton Way entrance in the median at Fleming Avenue.
Spurlock said the KKK believes Keeton's rights were violated when the school required her to participate in a remediation program after she objected to counseling homosexuals.
"It's your constitutional right, so how could you tell someone you have to do something completely different?" Spurlock said. "We're not out to harm her. We're trying to protest the constitutional rights that they are trying to take away from her."
Spurlock said the KKK has not been in contact with Keeton.
"She is no way whatsoever affiliated with us," he said. "She has not contacted us, but we were contacted by someone that is aware of her."
A message left on Keeton's cell phone was not returned Tuesday.
Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Scott Gay said members of the KKK met with the sheriff's office Saturday to discuss security for the protest. Gay stressed that his office's involvement is strictly neutral.
"We are not condoning it one way or another," Gay said.
Spurlock said he is affiliated with the Church of the National Knights of the KKK based in South Bend, Ind. He said the group, which boasts 100,000 members, is active in 41 states and 21 countries.
It was formed in 1960 as a response to the civil rights movement from a collection of splintered Klan groups in Southern states, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Web site.