Pledge of Allegiance dispute prompts student resignations

Pledge of Allegiance dispute prompts student resignations

Grace Palmer, Staff Writer

Student announcers Cole Johnson Jensen and Jacob Boucher, both seniors, resigned from their positions on Monday the 29th. “Personally, I felt like I didn’t have any choice but to resign,” Johnson Jensen said. After choosing not to say “under God” during the pledge of allegiance, both students were asked to step down by Dagny Waldeland.

Johnson Jensen said that he feels that their version is more representative of the South community. “It’s a more fair one …we’re a multicultural building.”

Boucher had skipped saying “under God” both times he said the pledge over the announcements, and was warned not to do so by Waldeland. On Monday, Johnson Jensen also chose not to say the phrase.

“[She said I] did not have the right to not say it,” he remembered, “ I could continue to be the announcer and say it, or resign.”

Both students made the choice to resign. Johnson Jensen described it as a personal choice, as an atheist student. “I understand that doing the announcements is not a right … it’s a privilege, but one that is only afforded to people who are willing to acknowledge a belief in God.”

The phrase “under God” was added to the pledge during the Red Scare in the 1950s. This is one reason Johnsen-Jensen said they both objected. “It isn’t relevant anymore,” he stated. He also cited separation of church and state.

Other students may agree with him. Johnson Jensen described his peers’ reactions by saying, “they [students] thought that they [administration]  had asked us not to say ‘under God’ because it’s more equal.”

He said, “[Waldeland] should just turn away when I don’t say it.” However, according to Minnesota State Statute 121A.11, Waldeland could lose her job  if the pledge of allegiance is altered.