NEW YORK (Reuters) - Students will hold events to highlight racial issues at a handful of U.S. college campuses this week, spurred by the impact of protests at the University of Missouri that culminated in the resignation of the school’s president and chancellor.
Peaceful marches or walkouts have been held, or are planned, at Yale University, Ithaca College and Smith College, though none has yet reached the intensity of demonstrations at Missouri, where hundreds of students and teachers protested what they saw as soft handling of reports of racial abuse on campus.
Soon after Tim Wolfe, president of the university, announced he would step down on Monday, a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered peacefully at the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, for a “March of Resilience,” in solidarity with Missouri.
The crowd sang and chanted for an end to racism on campus. The issue has been in focus at Yale after a fraternity turned away black guests at a Halloween party, saying, according to reports at the time, that only white women would be admitted.
A walkout is also planned at Ithaca College, a private school in upstate New York.
A student group called People of Color at Ithaca College announced on its Facebook page it was planning an on-campus ‘Solidarity Walk Out’ at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday “for all the injustices students of color face on this campus and other colleges nationally.”
Ithaca president Tom Rochon, like Missouri’s Wolfe, has been under fire for his perceived soft handling of racially sensitive incidents on campus.
“With the University of Missouri’s president stepping down, we demand Rochon do the same,” the group said on Facebook.
Students at Smith College, a women’s private school in Massachusetts, plan a similar walkout for midday on Wednesday.
A group of University of Missouri professors walked out of classes on Tuesday even after the resignation of Wolfe.
“I support the students who are still camping out and fighting for racial justice on campus,” Elisa Glick, an associate professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies, told Reuters in an email.
She did not say how many teachers joined the walkout.
The University of Missouri has stepped up security on its campus following the protests and campus police said threats had been made over social media, including one directed at the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center.
“Unfortunately we are dealing with them,” university police spokesman Major Brian Weimer said of the threats, adding that campus operations were otherwise normal.
Some schools are taking preventive steps to address racial equality. Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, scheduled a school-wide session on Tuesday to discuss diversity on campus, he said in a Twitter message.
Reporting by Melissa Fares and Angela Moon; Additional reporting by Ben Klayman and Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Bill Rigby and Clarence Fernandez