Letter to the Editor: Jones should not compare Raymond to 1920 lynching victims

In last week’s edition of The Statesman, an article was published featuring a rather shocking statement from Lindsay Jones, Rod Raymond’s attorney. Rod Raymond is currently UMD’s Fitness and Wellness coordinator, and was investigated in 2009 for sexual harassment after complaints were brought forward from multiple students. Recommendations were made for Raymond’s termination by both the Office of Equal Opportunity and by the Vice Chancellor of Student Life at the time, Randy Hyman. Despite these recommendations for immediate termination, Raymond still maintained his position at UMD with only light repercussions. Now, Raymond is facing another investigation. In the featured article, Jones compares Raymond’s situation to the 1920 lynching of three black men in Duluth. For those who are unfamiliar with this part of Duluth’s history, in 1920 six black men were accused of raping a teenage girl - a claim which has still, to this day, never been proven to be true. While being held in jail, awaiting trial, an angry mob of 10,000 people gathered in front of the prison, forced their way inside, and captured three of the men being held. The mob proceeded to lynch the three men from a streetlight, across the street from where the Clayton Jackson McGhie memorial stands downtown today.

For Jones to claim that Raymond’s situation is similar to the horrific, terrifying death faced by these three men is more than just absurd—it’s offensive. Jones’ blatant exploitation of the tragic murder of these young men in an attempt to garner sympathy for his client is nothing short of sickening. Raymond is already profiting off the site of this historical tragedy - he is a co-owner of Tycoons, which is located in what used to be the prison where the three men were held before they were lynched. Now his lawyer is exploiting that tragedy in an attempt to exonerate him. Raymond is privileged enough to have gone through due process after accusations were made against him in 2009, and now again in 2012. After accusations against Raymond surfaced, nobody broke through his wall, pulled him from his home and lynched him in the street. Nobody called for his trial to cease, and for his execution to be instigated. Raymond can not fathom the type of hate that these three men faced.

Raymond was accused of a crime, both in 2009 and 2012, and each time has faced due process - being investigated by his employer, while maintaining his employment at UMD. Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie were accused of a crime, dragged from their prison cells, and lynched in the street by an angry mob of 10,000 people. The UMD community is calling for Raymond’s termination because the investigation produced evidence that Raymond has repeatedly proven that he is a threat to the safety and well-being of all students at UMD. Raymond is facing due process - something the three men lynched in 1920 never got the chance to have.

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