Michigan State University students and members of Black Girls Unite, or BGU, gathered at Wells Hall to protest the recently reported racist incidents on campus and the university administration's handling of them.
“Everything is being swept under the rug,” BGU member Cailynn Slade said. The intent versus impact… is saying, ‘Okay, you feel this way, but that's not what I meant. So get over it,’ And that's not right. We want someone to say this is racism, acknowledge it. Make the students who hung the noose apologize, make the professor apologize.”
In light of the recent reports of racial descrimination on campus such as the apparent noose hanging on students’ door, and the Sona survey which included prompts containing racist, transphobic, xenophobic and homophobic slurs, BGU organized this protest demanding change.
Those who attended the protest marched around and inside Wells Hall with posters reading “Bigotry is never a joke,” “We want accountability,” “Acknowledge the injustices,” along with others.
“Reason why this stuff keeps continuing is MSU wants to present itself as this great place. But really, they're making it worse for the students by putting on a fake facade, where there's actually issues that can be addressed and could be dealt with. But for some reason, everybody's too scared to open their mouth or say anything is going to offend other people,” senior MSU student said.
This student feels as though because he is a white male, his professors seem to assume it is okay to talk to him about racist, homophopic, and other offensive topics. In one of his classes he was given a syllabus by a professor that openly states that they might say things the students find offensive due to his First Amendment right of an opinion and “challenges” them confront him.
“It's just unfathomable that I can get to this level of education and still deal with people that claim they're educated, but obviously, you know, they're not,” senior MSU student said. “Like, Why? Why am I being broken? Why am I spending all this money here? Just kind of being screwed.”
According to Slade, the Black Students Alliance has been for racial bias training since 1989, and this is one of the main concerns of these students.
“So many years and you won't have racial bias training, but you have the (Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence training) and you force us to do it every year. So how was that any different? So we really just want accountability, acknowledge it. acknowledge what's going on here. Racism is everywhere. just acknowledge it. MSU has racism,” Slade said.
Along with the protest BGU, came up with a list of demands for the administration.
“1. To call for consequences for the students involved in the recent racially charged hate crime.”
“2. To condemn the university for their response to hate crimes and bigotry on this campus over the years.”
“3. To seek consequences for the professor who produced the harmful survey.”
“4. To demand that MSU’s president and administration issue an in person, public apology to the students for the recent string of events that have occurred this week.”
The members hope that continuing these protests will help bring these unresolved issues to the attention of MSU’s administration. They believe something has to be done before these issue get out of hand.
“They should come out and apologize publicly. That’s why people keep doing it, because they’re not seeing anyone get punished. The heat isn’t on any student or any faculty or anything like that,” Slade said. “They act like they don’t know what racism is, like just say that it happened. They wanna safe face for everything. Even with the Larry Nassar thing they didn’t do anything until got so bad. Does somebody have to die for you to say racism is on MSU’s campus?”
BGU and other organizations will continue protesting these issues on Sunday at 11am at the Hannah Administration Building.
Stay with The State News for more coverage of this story. Full story to come.