Kennesaw State University Student Reaches Settlement Over 2017 Anthem Protest

Last week, Tommia Dean, now a senior at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, settled with four of the five defendants in her civil rights lawsuit that was filed last year after she and other members of the cheerleading team kneeled in peaceful protest during the national anthem.

Former KSU president Sam Olens, former Georgia state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, KSU deputy athletics director Matt Griffin, and KSU senior associate athletics director Scott Whitlock were the named defendants. Dean’s case against Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren is expected to go to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“My wife, Penny, had tears in her eyes, and we were both shocked to see such a lack of respect for our flag, our national anthem and the men and women that serve our nation,” said Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren to the Marietta Daily Journal in 2017.

“Cobb County has lost sons and daughters at home and on foreign lands while protecting America,” he said. “And to witness these ill-informed students acting this way clearly tells me KSU needs to get busy educating these students on more than just passing their classes. They need to learn all that the flag truly represents.”

On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, Dean and four other black KSU cheerleaders took a knee during the anthem before KSU defeated North Greenville University 38-34. The group became known as “The Kennesaw Five”

“We didn’t expect it to get as big as what it did, but we definitely knew that it was going to be something that got attention. And we wanted that attention to make sure we made our statement, and that our voices were heard,” Shlondra Young told WSBTV back in 2017.

With the news of the settlement, the case with Warren is the last part of this story that needs to be concluded.

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