Students stand in solidarity after racist situation against students of color

Photos by Rickey Portis, Story by Xavier Mendoza

NAACP CMU chapter President, Grand Rapids senior, Australyah Coleman (middle), starts the sit-in while standing next to Detroit sophomores Rebecca Mims (left) and Yasmeen Duncan (right), two of the students who were affected by the event, at Sweeney Hall, on the campus of Central Michigan University, on Nov. 8, 2018.

Multicultural organization leaders and university representatives held a peaceful sit-in, in front of Sweeney Hall, at 8 p.m. The sit-in was to address the racist comments three students of color received on their dorm room’s dry erase white board. The sit in had speeches from President Bob Davies, NAACP CMU chapter president, Grand Rapids junior, Australyah Coleman, and two of the affected students, Detroit sophomore Yasmeen Duncan and Detroit sophomore Rebecca Mims.

“You cannot tolerate these activities because we are one family, a community, a university,” Davies said.

President Bob Davies gives his speech addressing the racist situation that occurred in Sweeney Hall on the campus of Central Michigan University.

He addressed the incident and announced that the university would not tolerate any kind of negative actions by anyone towards the CMU community.

“Last night, after finding what was written in our dorms, I did not feel like I belong here,” Duncan said. “Seeing all of you guys here, really makes my heart happy, so again, thank you so much.”

Duncan’s roommate, Mims, addressed the situation with her own perspective.

Duncan (left) expresses her experience with the situation during the event. Her post on Facebook was what shined awareness to the situation.

“We can’t let individuals feel like they don’t belong because of the color of their skin,” she said. “People say, ‘This is 2018 and this doesn’t happen anymore,’ But it shouldn’t happen anymore. And I believe because all of us here together, coming together as a community, that it won’t happen again.”

The event concluded Coleman addressing four demands for change towards the university.

  1. Each student to be required to take a cultural course pertaining to their major/minor.
  2. Cameras be placed and actively used in the hallways of residence halls.
  3. A certified third-party must host a race and ethnicity training that will be mandatory for all faculty, staff, students
  4. Public apology by the officer that responded to the incident by the end of the week.

Coleman said the first three demands would be given a month time frame for the process to happen. She said, if the demands would not happen, students will continue to have these sit-ins and rallies, as much as necessary, until actions are done.