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While Trump spoke at Benedict, HBCU students were told to stay in their dorms

Benedict students were told to stay in their dorms while President Donald Trump is on campus, students told The State.

“Once the president arrives on campus, students are pretty much being told to stay in our dorms,” said Kevin Reese, a senior marketing major at Benedict College.

Asking students to stay in their dorms is a part of a safety plan Benedict College officials created alongside Secret Service, Benedict spokeswoman Kymm Hunter said in a statement. Classes were also canceled.

“The campus was closed and streets surrounding the campus were shut down to all vehicle traffic from 1:30 p.m. -3:00 p.m. Faculty, staff, and student who were on campus were asked to stay inside, but if anyone needed to go to work or to another building, it was not problem,” Hunter said.

Snacks were delivered to dorms between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., Hunter said. Students are no longer being asked to stay in their dorm rooms, Hunter said.

Benedict sophomore Nia Byas also said the campus was on “lockdown.” Other local media outlets have quoted Benedict College students saying they were asked not to leave their dorm rooms during the president’s visit. The State spoke to student protesters who also said they were told to stay in their dorms from 3-4 p.m.

Reese said he understands the need for security, but sees no reason why officials can’t secure a relatively small place like Benedict, compared to the massive venues Trump often speaks at.

Students were largely left out of Trump’s speech, where Trump gave a speech on criminal justice to approximately 300 people, according to a previous article from The State. Roughly 10 of those were students, according to the article.

“Sure, I would love to go to the event,” said Reese, who is neither a supporter nor an opponent of Trump’s. “Just to hear a sitting president, I wouldn’t want to miss that.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Reese’s position on Trump. He is neither a supporter nor an opponent.

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Lucas Daprile has been covering the University of South Carolina and higher education since March 2018. Before working for The State, he graduated from Ohio University and worked as an investigative reporter at TCPalm in Stuart, FL. There, where he won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for his political and environmental coverage.