Clark Atlanta University is now at the center of HBCU controversy for hiring The Cosby Show actor and proud Christian conservative, Joseph C. Phillips.
Phillips, who played Lt. Martin Kendall, the husband of Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet), is now working as a professor in Theatre and Communications Studies at the HBCU. According to Atlanta Black Star, the university has praised Phillips’ work in the community.
“Joseph brings a wealth of awe-inspiring talent, meaningful engagement in the community, and a portfolio of informed, decisive commentary to the University,” said President Dr. George T. French Jr. in a statement from the university Oct. 7.
“We anticipate that he will inspire independent thinking, civic responsibility, and a passion for interdisciplinary learning in our students—which aligns perfectly with our mantra to “lift our community by lifting our voices.”
According to the university's statement, Phillips has served as a fellow at the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian College and as an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute.
He also served as a fellow at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, where he designed, write and taught a seven-week course called “Black Conservatism in America.”
Phillips also wrote the book 'He Talk Like a White Boy' and wrote a syndicated conservative column, 'The Way I See It.'
He has also served as a commentator for the American Urban Radio Network and NPR as well as the director of the State Board of the California African American Museum.
His civil service includes working as a motivational speaker for at-risk youth and working with organizations including the Special Olympics, The Green Chimneys Foundation, The Red Cross, Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, Alpha Phi Alpha’s organization Project Alpha, and the March of Dimes.
He has recently acted on series including '13 Reasons Why,' 'General Hospital,' 'How to Get Away with Murder,' 'NCIS' and 'Good Trouble.'
While Phillips wrote on Facebook that he is “loving” his new job, some people have wondered if hiring a conservative at an HBCU is irresponsible. One person wrote on Twitter, “Isn’t Joseph C Phillips [sic] super conservative? Is an HBCU a place for that commentary?”
Another person wrote, "Considering his political past (maybe even present), this is an interesting move."
Most people, it seems, are congratulating Phillips for his new role as a professor. And the university seems to expect him to bring something different to the table for students to experience and learn from.