Ithaca College students stage walkout in solidarity with University of Missouri
Ithaca students walked out of classes Wednesday afternoon to gather at “Freedom Rock” in protest of what they described as injustices that affect minority students.
The demonstration is “for all the injustices students of color face on this campus and other colleges nationally,” according to a post on the Solidarity Walk Out page on Facebook. “With University of Missouri's president stepping down, we demand [Ithaca College President Tom] Rochon to do the same as it is vital to fight against both covert and overt racism in all places of education and empowerment.”
Some students were angered by a series of racially charged incidents that they say were not properly addressed, and many could be seen protesting by staging a “die-in.”
Silence now at the die in. pic.twitter.com/A42wSUJgAP— Kelsey O'Connor (@ijkoconnor) November 11, 2015
One incident brought up by student activists occurred at the school’s Blue Sky Reimagining event on October 8. During the event, two Ithaca alumni referred to a black panelist as a “savage” after she said she had a “savage hunger” to succeed.
Four days after the event, President Rochon said that “the college cannot prevent hurtful language nor promise that future guests and speakers would refrain from racist comments.”
Last weekend, during Ithaca College’s Family Weekend, activist group ‘POC at IC’ circulated a document called “The Case Against Tom Rochon,” accusing the administrator of “questionable ethics” and “incompetence.”
Protesters at Ithaca were emboldened by the recent success of activists at the University of Missouri (also known as “Mizzou”) in getting the president of the university system and the chancellor of the Columbia campus removed.
Students who participated in the Ithaca protest could be heard chanting “no confidence, no Rochon,” indicating that they wanted to see their school’s president resign over what they say is his inability to address the alleged instances of racism on campus.
"Students have felt that he is incapable of leading the school in a manner that creates the most inclusive and diverse community as possible," Yena Seo, student vice president of campus affairs.
Ithaca students will have until November 30 to deliver their votes of no confidence to the college’s Student Government Association.