Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"What will Mizzou do to actively combat institutional and systemic racial issues on our campus?" (Photo: AP)

Beyond Mizzou: Fight for Racial Justice Spreads to Campuses Nationwide

Spurred by successful demonstrations at University of Missouri, students and faculty escalate actions at Ithaca, Yale, and beyond

Deirdre Fulton

Empowered by successful campus organizing at the University of Missouri, where protests over racial tensions culminated Monday in the resignation of University president Tim Wolfe, students and faculty at schools across the country are seizing their moment to amplify the call for racial justice.

As CNN noted on Tuesday, "It's not just Missouri where students, concerned about the racial climate at their schools, are wielding newfound power. Campus activists across the country, fed up with what they see as their administrators' inadequate response to racial harassment, are taking matters into their own hands."

"From demonstrations at UCLA, to the confederate flags being removed at Washington and Lee, to the ongoing struggles at the University of Cincinnati, we encourage our peers around the country to continue to ignite change in these trying times."
—Christopher G. Hamm, Jr., Black Law Students Association, Mizzou chapter

A student group called People of Color at Ithaca College (POC at IC) plans to hold a 'Solidarity Walkout' on Wednesday afternoon, "for all the injustices students of color face on this campus and other colleges nationally."

The group has a specific demand: "With University of Missouri's president stepping down, we demand [Ithaca 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."

Rochon, like Missouri's Wolfe, "has been under fire for his perceived soft handling of racially sensitive incidents on campus," Reuters reports.

According to The Ithacan, students involved with POC at IC handed out a document called "The Case Against Tom Rochon" to guests at several Family Weekend events around campus.

"Though it is not clear where the document originated, [it] is broken into seven sections of criticism toward Rochon's presidency," the newspaper reported, including: "his autocratic leadership," "his questionable ethics," "his incompetence," "his disregard for minority community members," and "his disconnection from what is actually happening at IC and what needs to happen."

An email has been sent out by the Ithaca Student Government Association (SGA) asking the student body for a vote of 'confidence' or 'no confidence' in Rochon, with votes due Nov. 30.

"Students have felt that he is incapable of leading the school in a manner that creates the most inclusive and diverse community as possible," said student vice president of campus affairs Yena Seo.

A group at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, will be hosting its own walkout at noon on Wednesday in partnership with POC at IC, according to a Facebook event called 'Smith Stands with Ithaca and Mizzou.'

And at Yale earlier this week, a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered peacefully at the Afro-American Cultural Center for a 'March of Resilience' in solidarity with Missouri and to call attention to recent racial incidents on campus.

"It's been a tough few days," organizers stated online. "But the battle isn't over. Women of color, and people of color at Yale have forced Yale to look at itself and now, can force Yale to do more than look. We can force Yale to change."

Meanwhile, the struggle at Mizzou is not over.

"[T]he looming question now is what happens next," wrote Katherine Mangan for the Chronicle of Higher Education on Wednesday. "How does a university of 35,000 students create a climate in which students, faculty members, and the staff can feel comfortable talking about race? What concrete steps can the university system take to make the campus more welcoming to diverse students? And how does it do that in a careful, collaborative way, while being mindful that protesters might expect quick results in an age of Twitter activism?"

In a statement written on behalf of the University of Missouri Chapter of the Black Law Students Association, the chapter's president Christopher G. Hamm, Jr. posed a similar question: "What will Mizzou do to actively combat institutional and systemic racial issues on our campus?"

For its part, the chapter will "continue to partner with other students, organizations, and universities," he wrote, "to instill a greater awareness and commitment to the needs of the Black community."

Hamm concluded: "From demonstrations at UCLA, to the confederate flags being removed at Washington and Lee, to the ongoing struggles at the University of Cincinnati, we encourage our peers around the country to continue to ignite change in these trying times." 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Political Malpractice': House Democrats' Bill Wouldn't Add Dental to Medicare Until 2028

"I don't want to see it drawn out to as far as the House has proposed," Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a recent press call.

Jake Johnson ·


'How Many More Deaths Must It Take?' Barbados Leader Rips Rich Nations in Fierce UN Speech

"How many more variants of Covid-19 must arrive, how many more, before a worldwide plan for vaccinations will be implemented?"

Jake Johnson ·


To Avert Debt Ceiling Calamity, Democrats Urged to Finally Kill the Filibuster

"The solution is to blow up the filibuster at least for debt limit votes, just as Mitch blew it up to pack the Supreme Court for his big donors."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo