CLEMSON, S.C. (CBS Charlotte/AP) — Clemson University President James Barker is admonishing those fans who booed a reference to President Barack Obama during a military induction ceremony administered during the school’s football game with Virginia Tech.
The school was celebrating Military Appreciation Day. During a break in the game, several new recruits took the oath of service on the field in front of the crowd of 81,500. Boos were heard when inductees were asked to obey the U.S. President. Barker said the ceremony was “marred by bad behavior from some fans.”
Barker sent out a letter Tuesday to the school community, saying he had heard from several Clemson people saddened and disappointed by what he called “the public disrespect for the office of the President” on Saturday.
“As the election draws closer, negative campaigning is intensifying on both sides. The heated rhetoric and lack of civility we hear every day on TV, radio and in social media can be contagious,” Barker wrote, according to The Greenville News. “Passion about issues, commitment to candidates and participation in the democratic process are all vitally important. But when the voting is done, we have one President and he is President of us all.”
Barker wrote people could debate issues and hold opposite views without rancor and disrespect.
“I understand that we are in the home stretch of a heated presidential election and that freedom of speech is a right which makes our country great,” Barker said, according to The Greenville News. “Regardless of one’s political leanings, however, this ceremony was a sacred moment to the recruits, their families, and many others in attendance.”
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