UB students stage walkout to show solidarity for University of Missouri students

BSU organizes walkout to show support for campuses dealing with racial tensions

Donned in all black attire, the Black Student Union (BSU) and other students stood in the rain Thursday afternoon in a show of support for black students at the University of Missouri.

BSU posted a request on social media for students to wear all black and join them in a walkout at 3 p.m. Thursday. After the walkout, approximately 60 students stood in front of the Student Union to have a discussion about the racial incidents that occurred recently at the University of Missouri.

Deidree Golbourne, BSU vice president and a junior African American studies major, addressed the group by saying how proud she was with the amount of students who stood out in the rain to show their support.

“Solidarity is necessary,” Golbourne said to the students who were huddled under umbrellas.

The University of Missouri’s president, Tim Wolfe, stepped down earlier this week amid criticism that he did not properly handle racial situations that occurred on campus.

Members of the group Concerned Student 1950 pushed for Wolfe’s resignation, saying he did not properly handle the racist acts that were occurring on the campus, like black students being called the N-word and a swastika being drawn on residence halls. Graduate student Jordan Butler, a member of Concerned Student 1950, went on a hunger strike stating he would not eat until Wolfe resigned.

Member of the university’s football team also said they would not play their scheduled game against BYU – which would have resulted in a forfeit and cost the school at least $1 million in fines – until Wolfe announced his resignation as university president.

“We don’t know the people at the University of Missouri but we know their pain,” Golbourne said.

UB has been dealing with its own questions about race this semester after graduate fine arts student Ashley Powell hung signs around campus reading “White Only” and “Black Only.” BSU and other student organizations have been waiting for an official university response and possible new policy concerning the project since September.

UB students are just a few of the many students showing their support for the Missouri students.

Smith College, located in Massachusetts, had about 100 students demonstrate to show solidarity for both the University of Missouri and Ithaca College. On Wednesday, students at Ithaca College demanded their school’s president, Tom Rochon, resigns after his lack of response to racial insensitivity on campus.

Yale University is also experiencing racial tension after the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity allegedly did not allow black students into a party on Halloween. A student reported hearing a member of the fraternity say “white girls only.” The fraternity denies the incident occurred.

A 19-year-old Northwest Missouri student was charged Wednesday for posts he made on Yik Yak threatening to shoot black students on University of Missouri’s campus.

Last week, during BSU’s Black Solidarity Day, several racist posts were made on the social media app Yik Yak, an app that allows anonymous posts and is filtered based on location.

Golbourne said the posts were not surprising because racism is an issue students deal with at UB.

Golbourne and other members of the BSU said the main takeaway the organization wants is for students to form a sense of solidarity. One member encouraged the group to say hello to one another when they pass each other in the halls on campus, even if they do not know one another personally.

During the demonstration, Golbourne said BSU is like a family and it gives students an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

“This is your home away from home,” she said to the group. “Just know we are here for you … We are your brothers. We are your sisters.”

Marlee Tuskes is a news desk editor and can be reached at marlee.tuskes@ubspectrum.com. Follow her on Twitter at @marleetuskes5.