RUSSELLVILLE, Ark.-Students at Arkansas Tech University are taking a stand and protesting a scholarship named for a former professor accused of being a Holocaust denier and teaching anti-Semitic literature.
The late Dr. Michael Link taught at Arkansas Tech for more than 50 years.
The scholarship fund was endowed by a gift of $190,900.68 from Link’s estate.
Several Jewish community leaders and Holocaust scholars say Link taught anti-Semitic literature and discussed Holocaust denial as fact.
Some students believe the decision to honor the scholarship is heartbreaking while others say it’s not worth arguing over.
At Tuesday’s protest, many people are wondering what school leaders will do next.
Protesters crowded Hindsman Bell Tower at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville Tuesday.
“This shouldn’t happen. This is something that shouldn’t happen at Tech,” Regina Stewart said.
The protest comes after the university announced a scholarship for Dr. Michael Link. Link passed away in 2016 and taught at ATU for 55 years.
“It was to honor his legacy but we found out he was a Holocaust denier. He taught Holocaust in our literature class, Anti-Semitism were in his thesis,” Kalina Smith said.
“It’s a lie when they say it didn’t happen,” Wolfson said.
World War II veteran Beryl Wolfson says he is living proof.
“I helped take the bodies out of the box cars,” Wolfson said.
“That was a horrible horrible part of history. Like just the idea of trying to deny 11 million deaths is just barbaric,” Smith said.
Some students say the scholarship makes the university look bad.
“Like this how do you know more groups like this will come in,” Stewart said.
Some students disagree.
“I’m not a Nazi sympathizer, nor will I ever be. I just don’t see the whole point in coming out here and protesting,” Austin Kiefer said.
Students hope the protest will create change.
“What would be really awesome is they could just completely wipe out the scholarship,” Smith said.
Arkansas Tech announced the scholarship in December of 2018.
Officials say it will be presented each year to a senior student majoring in history with financial needs.
The school says there are no changes in the name of the scholarship.