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President Obama booed during Clemson game

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Source: AP/Mary Altaffer Source: AP/Mary Altaffer

CLEMSON, SC (WYFF) - The president of Clemson University is chastising those who booed President Barack Obama during the college's Military Appreciation Day at last weekend's game.

During the university's annual event that was held this year during the Clemson vs. Virginia Tech game on Saturday, a ceremony was held to induct ROTC cadets into the military.

The ceremony was disrupted by booing from some fans in the stands.

In an email with the subject line, "Dear Clemson Family: Focus on Positive Dialogue and a Civil Discourse," Clemson University president James Barker addressed the behavior at the football game.

He wrote: "Saturday's football game marked Clemson's annual observance of Military Appreciation Day, a time when we pay tribute to veterans, men and women currently serving and those who gave their lives to protect us. Clemson has a strong military heritage, and this day is always a special occasion.

"Unfortunately, the day was marred by bad behavior from some fans. During the ceremony inducting ROTC cadets into the military, a number of fans booed during the section of the oath they take to obey the President of the United States.

"I understand that we are in the home stretch of a heated presidential election and that freedom of speech is a right which makes our country great. Regardless of one's political leanings, however, this ceremony was a sacred moment to the recruits, their families, and many others in attendance. Many Clemson people have contacted me to express their sadness and disappointment at this public display of disrespect for the office of the President and the young people taking a solemn oath that day. I share those sentiments.

"As the election draws closer, negative campaigning is intensifying on both sides. The heated rhetoric and lack of civility we hear every day on TV, radio and in social media can be contagious. But it is possible to hold opposing viewpoints and debate issues without rancor and disrespect -- as demonstrated at a recent Strom Thurmond Institute roundtable discussion with political science Professors Bruce Ransom and Dave Woodard.

"Political campaigns seek to divide us -- to highlight differences in order to drive us into opposing camps. I believe there is far more that unites us, as Americans and members of the Clemson family. These include:

Our core Clemson values of honesty, integrity and respect for others.

Our respect for the military and support for our servicemen and women.

Our respect for the Constitution they are sworn to uphold, which is clear in placing ultimate authority in our civilian Commander-in-Chief, the President.

"Passion about issues, commitment to candidates and participation in the democratic process are all vitally important. But when the voting is done, we have one President and he is President of us all.

"After Nov. 6, our nation will need to work together to solve the many challenges that lie ahead. Engaging in positive dialogue and choosing the right time and place to voice our opinions will help us do that."

Sarah Smoak, is a Clemson senior who said she's voting for Obama.

"Regardless of who you are voting for, I think you should support the office of the President," said Smoak.

Junior Ben Cook said he's voting for Romney.

"The first amendment means a right of free speech, but there is a time and a place for it, and that was neither the time nor the place," said Cook.

Staff member Michael Seigler said he's undecided as to who he'll vote for in the Presidential Election.

"I understand it's a heated time with the election coming up, but for a moment like that, that's special for those people who are pledging that oath. I think you can be a little more respectful," said Seigler.

Copyright 2012 by WYFF All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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