Former KKK grand wizard David Duke will debate on live TV at historically black college

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Former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke has received enough support for his Senate campaign in Louisiana to be included in a televised debate. The debate is scheduled to take place on Nov. 2 at New Orleans' Dillard University, a historically black college, where students say they are shocked and planning to respond.

Duke, who made waves early in the presidential race over his support for Donald Trump and later announced his run for Senate, has polled high enough to qualify for the Nov. 2 debate with race frontrunners John Kennedy, a Republican, and Foster Campbell, a Democrat, according to an ABC News report.

KKK through the years

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Ku Klux Klan (KKK) throughout history
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Ku Klux Klan (KKK) throughout history
Ku Klux Klansmen ring a 15-foot cross before setting it afire at a rally near Windham Center, Pennsylvania, Saturday, Dec. 2, 1974. Only about a dozen robed Klansmen were among some 65 persons who turned out for the rally in freezing cold. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 1923 file photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan ride horses during a parade through the streets of Tulsa, Okla. Former Sheriff Bill McCullough, who tried to stop the parade, is at foreground left. John Hartvigsen, a flag scholar, says flags' power _ to unite or divide _ is only as great as the significance people assign to them. (AP Photo)
Ku Klux Klan members parade past the U.S. Treasury building in Washington, D.C. in 1925. (AP Photo)
Hundreds of female members of the Ku Klux Klan march in the Memorial Day parade in Atlanta, Ga., on April 26, 1936. The parade was held in memorial of the Confederate dead. (AP Photo)
A hangman's noose dangling from an automobile, driven by a hooded Ku Klux Klan member, is among the grim warnings for blacks to stay away from the voting places in the municipal primary election at Miami, Florida, May 3, 1939. In spite of the threats, 616 blacks voted. (AP Photo)
Members of the Ku Klux Klan, wearing traditional white hoods and robes, stand back and watch with their arms crossed after burning a 15-foot cross at Tampa, Fla., Jan. 30, 1939. (AP Photo)
Two little mascots, equipped with their own robes and hoods, flank Dr. Samuel Green, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, in Atlanta, Georgia, July 23, 1948, during a massive initiation ceremony of seven hundred members of the Ku Klux Klan. (AP Photo)
Ku Klux Klansmen burned a cross before the Emanuel County Courthouse, Swainsboro, Georgia, USA, Feb. 4th, 1948. They paraded in full regalia for the first time since the nineteen-twenties, when the klan was in its heyday. (AP Photo)
Men and women members of the Ku Klux Klan, in traditional white hoods and robes, march into the Inman Yards Baptist Church to attend regular Sunday evening services in Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 16, 1949. (AP Photo)
Riding mules and carrying a fiery cross, some 50 or 60 robed and hooded Klansmen parade at a rally near Whiteville, N.C., August 19, 1951. Thomas L. Hamilton of Leesville, S.C., Grand Dragon of the Carolinas Klan, said "The Klan will again progress in North Carolina." The rally attracted an estimated 5,000 spectators. (AP Photo)
A black woman watches as robed Ku Klux Klansmen walk in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, prior to a cross burning rally that night, November 24, 1956. Circulars advertising Klan meeting said, "We believe in white supremacy, we need you -- you need us." Blacks have boycotted city buses for nearly a year in protest against segregation. (AP Photo)
Ku Klux Klansmen carry torches and march around a large burning cross at a KKK rally in Spartanburg, S.C., Saturday, Aug. 17, 1963. A crowd of some 2,000 persons heard an address by Robert Shelton, imperial wizard of United Klans of American, Inc. at the rally. (AP Photo)
A North Carolina Klan rally. The Ku Klux Klan, silent and almost unnoticed in North Carolina in recent years, has started a drive for money and members. This picture was made at a cross burning at Salisbury, N.C., Aug. 8, 1964. It was one of the first rallies scheduled in the KKK's revival efforts in North Carolina. A rally is planned Saturday at Farmville, a community 55 miles east of Raleigh. (AP-Photo)
Klan Rally - Knights of the Ku Klux Klan march in a circle around a 50 ft. burning cross Sunday, June 06, 1965, as approximately 2,500 watch the closing ceremony of the rally near Trenton, N.C. (AP-Photo)
A member of the Ladies' Auxiliary of the United Klans of America, Inc., holds her young daughter, also robed in a Klan suit, at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Atlanta, Ga., on June 5, 1965. Some 600 persons attended the rally. The woman did not want to be indentified. (AP Photo)
Burning of the Cross - Ku Klux Klansmen, torches in hand, parade around a gigant flaming cross during a recent rally in North Carolina cow pasture. Each Klan rally ends with a cross burning ceremony. Long after the rally the burning cross can be seen for miles. A recording of "The Old Rugged Cross" blares from loud speakers while the cross burns. (AP-Photo) 25.7.1965
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan march in cemetery funeral rites in Chesapeake, Va., Oct. 12, 1966 for late Klansman Lillion Carlton Jernigan, 55, who died on Monday. Jernigan, whose funeral service was conducted by a Southern Baptist minister in a funeral home, was buried with Masonic rites as well as the Klan rites. (AP Photo)
The sign and the hooded figure draw attention to a Ku Klux Klan encampment on a rented meadow beside U.S. 71 near Campti, La., August 16, 1974. It was the scene of a recruitment rally for the United Klans of America, Inc., richest and most visible of the 14 separate and jealous Klan groups known to the FBI. These days, the vaunted Klan secrecy seems to hide weakness, not strength. (AP Photo)
Two women in Ku Klux Klan robes stand before a cross which was burned at a KKK rally at the head of Witcher’s Creek Hollow in Charleston, West Virginia, Saturday, Feb. 14, 1975. The women refused to give their names. The Klan has pledged to unite anti-textbook forces in Kanawha County. (AP Photo)
Ku Klux Klan members light their torches from that of their local Klan Leader Charles Carroll, right, during a membership rally in Pensacola, Florida, Saturday, May 25, 1975. (AP Photo/John Lent)
J.B. Stoner waves a Confederate flag after talking with news people outside the Cobb County Courthouse, Sept. 28, 1977, Marietta, Ga. Stoner was released on bend after surrendering to authorities after being indicted on charges of bombing a church in Birmingham, Ala. in 1958. (AP Photo/Joe Holloway Jr.)
Members of Florida’s Ku Klux Klan, properly known as the United Klans of America and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan marched in full force without incident in Davie, Florida, Saturday, July 8, 1978. The Klan has been trying to obtain a permit for this march for several years. It was finally granted a rally and cross-burning are scheduled. (AP Photo/Willens)
About 25 people gathered outside of KIRO radio’s downtown Seattle offices on Oct. 30, 1980, to protest the station’s interview with David Duke, former Grand Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. (AP Photo)
Meriden police in riot garb formed a cordon at the base of the steps of City Hall in Meriden on March 23, 1981 to protect members of the Ku Klux Klan who held a rally there. Minutes later angry demonstrators tried to force their way past police, forcing the members of the Klan to seek shelter in City Hall. (AP Photo/Bob Child)
Members of the Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan arrive at City Hall in Meriden on March 21, 1981 under escort by Meriden police clad in full riot gear. The Klan were in Meriden to rally in support of local police. (AP Photo/Bob Child)
An unidentified couple wearing robes of the Ku Klux Klan kiss after wedding ceremony at the Paulding County Courthouse in Dallas, Georgia on Dec. 11, 1982 after a Klan march through the town. The couple refused to give their names. The march was held after the Klan was denied use of the high school gymnasium for a rally. (AP Photo/Ben Baxter)
Demonstrators scuffled with Meriden police at the base of the steps of City Hall in Meriden, Connecticut on March 23, 1981 as they sought to confront members of the Ku Klux Klan who were holding a rally there. (AP Photo/Bob Child)
Helmeted Boston police officers work to restrain an unidentified man at Boston’s City Hall Plaza on Oct. 16, 1982 as an onlooker holds up his hands after demonstrators clashed with police during a Ku Klux Klan rally. (AP Photo/Bill Polo)
Police chase back anti Ku Klux Klan demonstrators in the parking lot of West Farms Mall shopping center in Farmington, Conn.,, Sunday, May 23, 1983. The demonstrators were protesting a proposed stop by Klan members of distribute pamphlets. Three were arrested in connection with the scuffle. (AP Photo/Child)
An anti Ku Klux Klan protester raises her fist as she presses against the police line separating Klan members and demonstrators from each other during a march and rally in College Park, Georgia, Sunday, May 28, 1983. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)
Anti-Klan demonstrators, right, heckle members of the Ku Klux Klan as a group of about fifty Klansmen arrived at the Texas Capitol following a short parade near the capitol in Austin on Saturday, Feb. 19, 1983. Four hours, several anti-Klan groups staged a parade of their own. (AP Photo/Ted Powers)
Supporters of the Ku Klux Klan help members raise the cross that was to be burned at the rally held on a farm near Masontown, Pennsylvania Saturday, July 19, 1986. (AP Photo/Keith B. Srakocic)
Wearing traditional robes of the Invisible Empire, Ku Klux Klan members form a circle around a burning cross in Rumford, Maine Saturday, Sept. 27, 1987. Lead by the group’s national leaderr Imperial Wizard James W. Farrands, the Klan gathered on a rural farm in western Maine for a rally. (AP Photo/Scott Perry)
Unidentified man is arrested by police in Greensboro, North Carolina Sunday, June 7, 1987 after he broke through police lines during a Ku Klux Klan march. In the foreground is the man’s flag and bible. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)
Six Ku Klux Klan marchers are surrounded by 1,000 National Guardsmen and 1,000 officers as they parade on Dr. Martin Luther King in Atlanta Saturday, Jan. 21, 1989. Counter-demonstrators clashed with police with rocks, sticks and bottles later in the march, called to protest the observance of the holiday for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly)
Residents gathered to protest a Ku Klux Klan rally in Brownwood, Texas Friday, June 26, 1992 in order to draw attention away from the Klan gathering across town. Brownwood officials initially opposed the Klan rally, but the U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that states and cities may not outlaw cross burning and “hate crimes.” (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Twenty-six members of the Ku Klux Klan rally on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse Saturday, April 13, 1996, in Louisville, Ky. The Klan members and their supporters shouted their message of "white pride" from the courthouse steps while several hundred counter demonstrators shouted messages of unity from across the street. Authoritites reported no arrests and no injuries were reported during the demonstration. (AP Photo/Brian Bohannon)
A member of the Ku Klux Klan salutes to the crowd at a rally in Greensburg, Pa. Saturday, August 16, 1997. Police, who kept several hundred people from interfering with the rally, were unable to keep some protesters from throwing eggs, bottles and debris at the klan members. (AP Photo/Gary Tramontina)
Mid-Michigan skinheads shout"Sieg Heil," a Nazi salute meaning hail to victory, during a Knights of the Klu Klux Klan rally held in Caro, Mich. Saturday Sept. 27, 1997. No major violence occurred during the one and a half-hour rally. A group of about 350 protestors shouted abuse at the Klan members and their skinhead supporters. (AP Photo/The Bay City Times, Dan Staudacher)
State police guard the perimeter of the courthouse in Mercer, Pa., while the Ku Klux Klan holds a rally on the steps Saturday, Aug. 8, 1998. Some 200 people gathered to listen to members of the Klan during a rally held under heavy police presence. (AP Photo/Gary tramontina)
Members of the Church of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan march around the Madison County Courthouse in Canton, Miss., Saturday, May 29, 1999. About 40 members of the group conducted their "informational program" at the courthouse following their brief march. All the activities ended with no incident. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)
A member of the Ku Klux Klan is hugged by a supporter of the death penalty while demonstrating outside the Huntsville Unit where the death chamber is located Thursday, June 22, 2000 in Huntsville, Texas. Convicted killer Gary Graham is scheduled to be executed later Thursday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Gordon Young, a local Imperial Wizard of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, marches with other KKK members, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2004, in Sharpsburg, Md. The nine participants in the march were outnumbered by more than two dozen police in riot gear who kept the Klansmen away from scores of people gathered in a downtown intersection. The police escorted the marchers to a city park, but kept the public away. (AP Photo/Timothy Jacobsen)
Members of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan as they march along a street, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2004, in Sharpsburg, Md. The participants in the march were outnumbered by more than two dozen police in riot gear who kept the Klansmen away from scores of people gathered in a downtown intersection. The police escorted the marchers to a city park, but kept the public away. (AP Photo/Timothy Jacobsen)
Members of the World Order of the Ku Klux Klan arrive at the Gettysburg National Military Park for a protest rally Saturday, Sept. 2, 2006 in Gettysburg, Pa. The KKK fielded 25 members for the event and their were no incidents. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)
An unidentified member of the Ku Klux Klan peers from beneath a hooded mask at a Ku Klux Klan rally Saturday, June 10, 2006 at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md. About 30 people, some in white robes and others in the military-style clothing and swastika armbands of the National Socialist Movement of America, stood next to a farmhouse on the battlefield. (AP Photo/Matt Houston)
Ken Krauss of the National Socialist Movement, center, salutes with members of the Ku Klux Klan, Saturday, June 10, 2006, at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md. About 30 people, some in white robes and others in the military-style clothing and swastika armbands of the National Socialist Movement of America, stood next to a farmhouse on the battlefield. (AP Photo/Matt Houston)
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The university, which agreed to host the debate before Duke qualified, has said it is contractually obligated to keep the event scheduled. On Monday, Dillard student leader Joseph Caldwell said there are plans to respond to the fact that an internationally known racist and white nationalist will get a speaking platform at an institution that has provided higher education opportunities predominantly to African-Americans in the Deep South since the end of slavery.

"David Duke is unacceptable and he's not welcome here," Caldwell, a 20-year-old sophomore and vice president of Dillard's Student Government Association, said in a phone interview.

"We are going to look at that as a student body and we're probably going to do something about it," he said.

Caldwell, an urban studies and human policy major, said the announcement shocked many students over the weekend. University officials did not meet with student body leaders before Dillard agreed in September to allow the debate to take place in George's Auditorium, part of the professional schools and sciences building.

David Grubb, a Dillard spokesman, said university President Walter Kimbrough and the board of trustees learned WVUE-TV had invited Duke to participate in the event on Thursday. While officials are in ongoing conversations about Duke's participation, pulling out of the event has not been part of those discussions, Grubb said in a phone interview Monday.

Former KKK grand wizard David Duke will debate on live TV at historically black college
First lady Michelle Obama speaks at the 2014 Dillard University commencement ceremony.
Source: Jonathan Bachman/AP

"It was a shock to us, just like it was to anyone else," Grubb said. With the coronation of Mister and Miss Dillard on Saturday and Founders Day convocation on Sunday, the university simply has not have the time to meet with student government leaders about Duke, the Grubb said.

In a statement released Saturday, Dillard ensured that it would work with the station to keep the event secure and professional. It also said Dillard "does not endorse the candidacy of any of the candidates who will appear at the debate."

Duke has expressed his excitement at the invitation to join the debate. But the 66-year-old former KKK leader has reportedly expressed his concern over safety. "Dillard is pretty supportive of Black Lives Matter, and I've been pretty critical of them," Duke told the Acadiana Advocateon Oct. 20.

Grubb said Duke may have been referring to a Sept. 20 event Dillard held with conservative writer Rick Lowry, who told a room full of black students that he disagreed with Black Lives Matter and there was no incident.

"Issues about safety are unfounded," the spokesman said.

Campbell, the Democratic Senate candidate, told ABC News it was "unfortunate" that WVUE-TV was allowing Duke to participate.

"His destructive rhetoric is a distraction from this campaign, which is about our future, not our past," Campbell said.

Former KKK grand wizard David Duke will debate on live TV at historically black college
A marching band performs on the Dillard University campus in 2015, to mark 10 years since Hurricane Katrina.
Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Duke, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations in 1988 and 1998, has also failed in runs for the Louisiana state Senate and governorship, U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Duke was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1989 and served until 1992. He renounced his membership with the KKK in the 1970s, but has been known for espousing anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic viewpoints since then.

In March, he denied ever officially endorsing Trump's candidacy, but said he agrees with the real estate mogul's call for draconian immigration policy proposals that would allow the U.S. to remain Eurocentric in population and policy.

Founded in 1869, just a few years after the abolition of U.S. slavery, Dillard became a premiere Christian institution of higher learning in the 20th century and has the designation of being a historical black college or university, or an HBCU. Dillard enrolled 1,185 students in 2014, 90% of whom were black.

Should Duke get to debate on campus, Dillard students aren't going to start a riot, Chadrick Hudson, the past SGA president who graduated from the New Orleans university last spring, said in a phone interview.

"I know my student body," Hudson said Monday. "They're going to carry themselves with intelligence. But I think it's going to get tense."

Former KKK grand wizard David Duke will debate on live TV at historically black college
Dillard University faculty walk down the Avenue of the Oaks during a commencement ceremony in 2007.
Source: Alex Brandon/AP

Dillard sent an email to the student body and to alumni over the weekend to acknowledge the concern among students, Hudson said.

"If I was still SGA president, I would have pushed for the debate to be hosted off-campus," Hudson said in the phone interview. "We could have had shuttles for students to actually go to the debate."

Given that student leaders were not initially consulted before Dillard agreed to host the debate, Hudson questioned whether officials had students in mind at all.

"I really kind of feel as though they're not looking at it beyond the publicity," he said.

WVUE-TV's invitation to Duke is "disrespectful and distasteful," Caldwell, the current SGA vice president, said over the phone.

"I can care less what David Duke has to say," Caldwell said. "He's racist. He endorses Donald Trump. As a student body, we just have to rally together. This is our chance to make our mark."

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