A protest at the University of Michigan (UM) lit up the night as students gathered to express their frustrations over incidents of racism that have plagued the campus. About 150 students marched to the school’s union, and there they met with the President Mark Schlissel and other administrators. Then, it all went bad.
The president left for another meeting, and students marched into the streets, where some blocked the South State Street. That was when an unidentified white man began slinging racial slanders. According to Michigan Live, he yelled:
‘Shut the f*ck up, n*gga!’
After that, a fight broke out between the man and one of the black UM students. Ann Arbor police arrived on the scene, while UM campus police blocked the intersecting streets where the student protested. The students continued the protest and moved to Schissel’s home. They left signs on his door, then they dispersed.
UM freshman and one of the leaders of the protest, Tyler Washington, called for change:
‘The climate on campus needs to change. The fact is that it’s been four years and every September, multiple racist and discriminatory events happen, and nothing is done. Nobody has been held responsible for their actions.’
Several student groups organized the protest, including Students4Justice, the Black Student Union, and the NAACP chapter after minority students found racist graffiti on campus, including the n-word. Some of the dorm doors were defaced with racist messages. Washington told Michigan Live:
‘I understood that things were going to happen, but the fact that two things happened back-to-back and the first thing the president did was give a tweet, not to the African American community, but to his followers, what is that going to do for the community?’
Reports also stated that Schlissel asked the university’s students for ideas about responding to racism and bias:
‘Racist comments and this kind of verbal violence and vandalism – there’s nobody who thinks this belongs here…I apologize if you haven’t heard from me loudly enough or often enough – I don’t know what you expect to hear. We are trying to catch the people doing this and tell them this doesn’t belong here, while protecting the students here.’
Freshman Kyle Terry addressed vandals who defaced a dorm, according to Michigan Live:
‘We need action, we need repercussions and we need to show them that this is not OK. We want to hear them say that it is wrong when these things happen. We want them to implement different programs that spreads racial awareness and addresses these problems.’
DPSS Public Information Officer Diane Brown said the graffiti incident is under investigation.
Featured Image via WXYZ Detroit Video Screen Grab.