FSU Black Student Union Holds Protest To Affirm Black Students
As a result of hate crimes and harassment of black students on the Florida State University campus, approximately 65 FSU students, faculty and staff gathered in Westcott for a Black Student Union-led protest during the Saturday’s football game against Syracuse to demand recognition and reform. .
It comes after cases of harassment for seats at football matches and the putting up of offensive posters near the FSU campus, amid other instances of campus racism alleged by a BSU statement released on Friday.
On September 30, the FSUPD reported that posters containing a message about a “KKK meeting” and “sexually derogatory messages” had been hung near the FSU campus, according to a press release. The FSUPD identified the subjects as two high school students and a recent high school graduate. , none of which is affiliated with the university.
Following:Seat block suspended due to racial harassment in the first football match
“For now, we just want to reaffirm black students in this space on campus,” BSU President Jazeera Shaw-Young said. “There have been a few instances where students have felt unsafe or out of place, and I wanted to draw attention to this issue and try to shake things up on accountability measures and change.”
The group started walking around 1:45 p.m. and crossed the campus. After a break at BSU House, the group headed to the student section of Doak Campbell Stadium, chanting messages such as “My life matters” and “No more excuses.”
Some FSU faculty members joined the students in their protest. Karen Oehme, president of the Student Resilience Project on campus, said she wanted to show solidarity with students.
“We want to build strong students,” Oehme said. “The fight against racism is an essential part of building that strength for these students on campus. We believe in an inclusive campus, so I wanted to come here and be with them on behalf of the project. “
Some students have expressed that they want the university to take immediate action to protect minority students on campus from instances of harassment and racism.
“Instead of finding an excuse as to why these things can’t happen, we want things to get done,” said Rebeckah Anestin, FSU sophomore and BSU co-membership chair. She said installing cameras in certain spaces on campus is one of those changes she would like to see.
The BSU issued a statement Friday calling for measures such as placement of cameras on campus, more education on hate speech and intolerance, and specialist resources to deal with harassment of minority students.
FSU President Richard McCullough sent a letter to students on Friday about the incidents on campus and stressing that he was reviewing recommendations made by the Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion Task Force formed by the former President John Thrasher in the summer of 2020.
“There have been a few incidents this fall that go against the values dear to Florida State University. I hate racism and discrimination, and it has no place here.
Shaw-Young noted that she is in communication with the university administration regarding student concerns.
“I know they are listening to our concerns, it is just a matter of making sure that we let them know that this is an urgent and pressing matter,” she said. “So we come together to support each other here, I think that will definitely shed some light on the issue. “
McCullough added that one of his top priorities is addressing inclusion on campus.
“One of the reasons I came to the state of Florida was its strong sense of family and its welcoming environment,” McCullough wrote. “Together, I know we can continue to build a more inclusive community for everyone.”
Shaw-Young added that the protest is just a way for students to come together to support each other.
“Sometimes in a PWI (predominantly white institution) it can be easy to feel that you don’t belong or that you aren’t important because you don’t look like the majority of the student body,” Shaw said. -Young. “But as president of the Black Students Union, my greatest hope and wish is that students will feel comfortable here and feel ready to excel and flourish academically because it is is what they come here for. “
Casey Chapter is the editor of FSView & Florida Flambeau. Contact her at Cchapter@FSView.com or follow her on Twitter @CaseyChapter.