Colgate U. Students Combat Racist Posts With Sit-In

By Julissa Catalan

Colgate University’s Association of Critical Collegians (ACC)a student-run organizationorganized a campus sit-in for three days to protest racist messages on the anonymous social-media app Yik Yak.

The protest ran from Monday to Wednesday last week, with 300 students occupying the university’s admissions office.

The undergrads involved in the rally say that Colgate lacks diversity and that faculty and staff treat Black and Latino students differently, adding that the Yik Yak messages are far from the only form of racism on campus.

The racist students also act out via other social-media sites and in person as well.

Currently, the Colgate student body is about three-fourths white, matching the percentage of white faculty members.

The students who marched used social media to spread their message, using hashtags #CanYouHearUsNow and #ThisIsColgate on Twitter, and sharing photos on ACC’s Instagram account.

The students created a video depicting their demonstration.

The ACC also published a Petition of Concern on its Tumblr page explaining the growing frustration felt by underrepresented students who have been discriminated against on campus.

The petition asked that the university make more inclusive changes such as having faculty participate in sustained diversity training, as well as hiring more Black and Latino staff members and making financial aid more accessible for underprivileged students.

“Until those action plans are met, we will pursue our sit-in here at the Hurwitz Office of Admission building,” Sydni Bond, a student spokesperson for ACC, told Inside Higher Ed.

School President Jeffrey Herbst responded in writing on Wednesday afternoon, saying:

“We believe our response will be the basis for further discussion. Bias incidents and racism, while not unique to Colgate, are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. They have no place on a college campus, and they have no place at Colgate. We have heard you, and we will join you in the common goal of creating a campus environment that is welcoming and supportive of all of our students.”

Students say they are unsatisfied with the school’s response and await implementation of their proposed action plans.

Examples of the racist tweets:

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