ECU Student President Won't Remove "God Bless" In E-Mails

The East Carolina student body president says he will not remove "God Bless" in his official ECU e-mail signature.

Student Government Association President Justin Davis says he was told Thursday to refrain from using the phrase in his official ECU e-mail account by the SGA adviser. Davis says that's an attempt to suppress his freedom of religion and he will not change his signature.

ECU spokeswoman Mary Schulken says the university isn't going to force Davis to change his email signature. She says his student adviser wanted to initiate what was supposed to be a positive conversation about his signature. Schulken says no demand was made or order given.

Davis says his adviser sent him a text which read, according to him "Hey Justin, just for your information when you send out messages to the student body avoid God Bless in those messages." The political science senior from Rocky Mount texted back that he respected the adviser's opinion, but he wasn't going to change his signature.

ECU says it hopes students and staff use good judgement on what's appropriate in e-mail signatures, keeping in mind they represent the university. Schulken says many people have personal passions in the roles that they have and they leave it up to supervisors and student advisers to initiate conversations in situations where things may be misconstrued. She says the SGA president represents 27,500 students and what he may put on an e-mail signature would get broad exposure.

Davis says he hopes to have a face-to-face conversation with his adviser and says, in his opinion, by having the phrase on his e-mail signature he is not forcing his religion on anyone.