Think Progress reports:
Following the successful ousting of University of Missouri leadership this week, another student body is protesting racism on campus. Hundreds of Ithaca College students, faculty, and staff flooded the campus quad Wednesday afternoon to protest racial inequality on the college campus and the leadership of college president Tom Rochon.
The “walkout” demonstration was led by student activist group POC at IC, which stands for People of Color at Ithaca College. The group formed in October in response to recent events viewed as racist by members of the campus community.
Wednesday’s walkout follows multiple acts of student protest on the Ithaca College campus in response to a slew of racial controversies and insufficient action from college president Tom Rochon and the administration.
The tensions mounted during an alumni panel at the college’s Blue Skies Reimagining Kick-Off event on October 8, which was intended to showcase a new initiative of president Tom Rochon to “reimagine” the college’s mission.
During the panel, two white male panelists repeatedly referred to alumna Tatiana Sy, a woman of color, as “the savage” after Sy described herself as having a “savage hunger” for success while attending Ithaca College.
A few days prior to that event, students also expressed outrage over a party with the theme “Preps and Crooks,” hosted by un-affiliated fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, which is made up of Ithaca College students. The “Crooks” were instructed to wear “a more ’90’s thuggish style. Come wearing a bandana, baggy sweats and a t-shirt, snapback, and any ‘bling’ you can find!”
The administration’s response was to distance the college from the party and “discourage our students from participating in any event designed around principles antithetical to our community’s commitment to respect and inclusivity.”
In a message from president Tom Rochon and provost and vice president of academic affairs Benjamin Rifkin to students following the Blues Skies Reimagining Kick-Off event, the administrators said: “In general, the college cannot prevent the use of hurtful language on campus. Such language, intentional or unintentional, exists in the world and will seep into our community. We can’t promise that the college will never host a speaker who could say something racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or otherwise disrespectful.”