Student Activism has been on the uprise at colleges across the country this fall, many of them relating to racism. These situations have led to protests and hunger strikes some and have ended in resignations.

 According to Krishnadev Calamur of The Atlantic, the University of Missouri has faced some of these incidents. Senior Peyton Head, president of Missouri Students Association, was reportedly walking near campus when he was called racial slurs. Within the days following this, Legion of Black Collegian members reported being called the “N-word” among rehearsing for the college’s events planned for Homecoming. Weeks later, “on October 24, a swastika was drawn with human feces at a university residence hall,” says Calamur.

 Initially, the university was silent about the issue. MU has a student group, Concerned Student 1950, which is named in honor of the year that the first black graduate was admitted to the University of Missouri. In attempt to get a response from the university’s president, Tim Wolfe, the group stood in front of his car at a Homecoming parade to block it. According to The Columbia Missourian newspaper, “Wolfe did not respond to the group’s concerns while he was in the car. His driver revved the convertible’s engine, and the car bumped into” Concerned Student 1950 member and graduate student Jonathan Butler.

 Calamur reported that the following week, Wolfe met with group members, recognizing that racism is present at the university and that it is wrong. The group felt so strongly about the issue that they began to camp out on campus and go on hunger strikes, and 32 members of the Missouri Tigers football team refused to play. They claimed that they would not stop until Wolfe stepped down. He resigned on Nov. 9.

As reported by Sam Lisker of  USA Today, Students say that incidents like this are systematic racism, and it is occurring at colleges nationwide. In addition to the University of Missouri, students at Ithaca College and Virginia Commonwealth University are demanding change. On Thursday, Nov. 12, “A group of black Virginia Commonwealth University student activists marched into the school president’s office Thursday morning to demand the university increase the number of black professors and offer more cultural training on campus,” says Louis Llovio of Richmond Times-Dispatch.

 Students nationwide are demanding the same things, such as a higher percentage of black faculty, diversity training, and mandatory racial awareness and inclusion.

  On Nov. 12, People of Color at Ithaca College released a statement. Lisker includes that part of the statement reads, “Experiences that people of color have at IC show that our reality, our United States, our bubble, our campus is not conducive to all but to a select few. Many do not agree with this statement. To them, Ithaca College is a diverse community. … Diversity and inclusion here at Ithaca College is nothing more than an image.

 Student activism is currently very prominent at the University of Alabama as well. According to Tyler Kingkade of The Huffington Post, “The Machine, or Theta Nu Epsilon, is a secret society made up of members from certain fraternities and sororities that dictates how other members of Greek life should vote in the Student Government Association and campus elections.”

 Existing for decades, this secret society has recently pushed Greek life members to vote against the first black SGA president in 40 years, Elliot Spillers, and has allegedly blocked him from picking his own cabinet members. As Kingkade stated, they have also encouraged voting against Halle Lindsay, Homecoming queen candidate who happened to be one of the very first black women to be accepted into traditionally white sororities.

 Students protested on Nov. 19 at the Tuscaloosa campus saying, “We are here, we are loved, We Are Done.” They called themselves “We Are Done,” and used the letters “o, n, e,” to resemble Greek letters for the secret society Theta Nu Epsilon.

According the Kingcade, a University of Alabama spokesperson said in an email, “We are working hard to provide a positive environment for all of our students. As we develop our strategic plan, we will have many conversations with the campus community that are centered on diversity and inclusion.” The University does not acknowledge that the Machine exists.

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