Anti-racism protests scattered around US campuses after Missouri resignations
Students are holding events designed to bring attention to racial issues on a handful of U.S. college campuses this week, spurred on by the impact of protests at the University of Missouri, which culminated in the resignation of the school’s president and chancellor on Monday.
Peaceful marches or walkouts have occurred, or are planned, at Yale University, Ithaca College and Smith College in the Northeastern United States, though none has yet reached the intensity of demonstrations at Missouri, where hundreds of students and teachers protested what they saw as soft handling of reports of racial abuse on campus.
Shortly after Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri, announced he would step down on Monday, a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered peacefully at the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, to hold what students called a “March of Resilience,” in solidarity with Missouri.
The crowd sang and chanted for an end to racism on campus. The issue has been in focus at Yale after a fraternity turned away black guests at a Halloween party, saying, according to reports at the time, that only white women would be admitted.
A walkout is also planned at Ithaca College, a private school in upstate New York. A student group called People of Color at Ithaca College announced on its Facebook page that it is planning an on-campus ‘Solidarity Walk Out’ at 1:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) on Wednesday “for all the injustices students of color face on this campus and other colleges nationally.”
Ithaca president Tom Rochon, like Missouri’s Wolfe, has been under fire for his perceived soft handling of racially sensitive incidents on campus.
“With University of Missouri’s president stepping down, we demand Rochon do the same as it is vital to fight against both covert and overt racism in all places of education and empowerment,” the group said on a Facebook event page it created, where 500 students confirmed their attendance.
Students at Smith College, a women’s private school in Massachusetts, also planned a walkout for Wednesday. A Facebook event called ‘Smith Stands with Ithaca and Mizzou’ is planned for midday, when students say they will walk out of class “for all the injustices students of color face on this campus and other colleges nationwide.”
A group of University of Missouri professors walked out of classes on Tuesday even after the resignation of Wolfe.
“I support the students who are still camping out and fighting for racial justice on campus,” said Elisa Glick, an associate professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri, in an email to Reuters. She did not say how many teachers joined the walkout.
Some schools were taking preventive measures. President of the University of Michigan, Mark Schlissel, scheduled a school-wide session on Tuesday to discuss diversity on campus, according to a post from him on Twitter.
(Reporting by Melissa Fares and Angela Moon; Additional reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Bill Rigby)