Students March Against Racism (Again!) at Binghamton University, Administration Still Isn’t Listening

By: Joan McKiernon

Recently students at Binghamton University joined students around the country who were supporting the anti-racist protests at the University of Missouri which ended with the resignation of the university president. Like others across the country, students at BU were supporting Mizzou students, but were also protesting against the racism on their own campuses. The Black Students Union and the Latin American Students Union at BU organized a walk-out in support of Mizzou students and to protest against the death threats against Black students there. The walk-out was supported by the many Black and Hispanic organizations on campus and by many faculty, who closed their classes and joined their students at the protest.

Protests against racist abuse at BU are not new. Toivo Asheeke, sociology graduate student, explained, “At BU we’ve been fighting the same struggle for years. We understand exactly what the Mizzou students are experiencing. We are feeling the same pain.” Many young students report an atmosphere of fear on campus, because of the racial harassment they are experiencing. Students for Change was organized to fight discrimination at the university. They have been negotiating with the administration for better protection for minority students and for greater diversity on campus, with little success to date. At a meeting last March to discuss the students’ list of demands, the BU president, Harvey Stenger, removed his mike and walked out of the meeting. So it was a real surprise when two minutes before the planned walk-out, Stenger emailed all the students saying that ‘things are good here’, not like at the University of Missouri. He also added that “we are working on the student demands.” Campaigners will be waiting to see the impact of Missouri on the administration at BU.

At a separate protest later in the day, students demonstrated for free tuition, an end to student debt and support for $15 minimum wage as part of the Million Student March. Their signs read “education is a human right” and “give us a living wage.” One student explained, “I am leaving here with a $120,000 debt.” And this is at a state university which is supposedly affordable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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