Students protest for Mizzou during State of the University address

Students protest outside of the student center during the State of the University address on Nov. 19, 2015.

Daria Gaither

Kent State’s Black United Students (BUS), Ohio Student Association (OSA) and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) organized a protest outside of the State of University address to stand in solidarity with faculty and staff of AAUP-Kent and the students of University of Missouri Thursday afternoon.

Students gathered on Risman Plaza dressed in black carrying signs and chanting. The protest was organized to show solidarity with the faculty and staff of AAUP-Kent, but to also take a stand against racism and discrimination across college campuses.

The University of Missouri is currently under scrutiny for recurring, targeted incidents against black students, including racial slurs and a swastika made of feces found in a residence hall bathroom.

More than 30 black football players support the removal of the university’s president, Tim Wolfe, and refuse to step on the field until changes are made.

“We are aware of the racism going on around the country, as well as at Kent State,” senior fashion merchandising major and president of Kent State’s NAACP chapter Chiann Demus said.

The protest began on Risman Plaza and then moved to the front of the Kiva for protesters to stand with the faculty and staff of AAUP-Kent. The AAUP-Kent protesters began to clap as the student protestors joined their picket line.

Andrew Rossman, junior political science major and membership director for OSA, said the organization is taking these issues seriously.

“We stand with the students and professors because we want to build faculty and student power,” Rossman said. “We also take race issues seriously. There are race issues on our campus. We want to take care of them. We support the NAACP and BUS.”

Student protesters began to march inside the Student Center chanting, “Students united will never be defeated,” while holding their fists up. Once the students were inside, they stood in a circle around BUS president, Isaac Floyd, who began to lead multiple chants.

Floyd said today was to show support to University of Missouri and the AAUP-Kent faculty and staff, but to also recognize issues on a larger scale.

“I think today was to raise voices of students,” Floyd said. “As college students we have the convenience to come together to show solidarity, as well as recognize issues on a national and global scale.”

Demus said the movement is not over.

“The next step is to follow-up with demands and to plan an administrative and student forum to list and discuss the demands,” Demus said.

The students also took a photo on Risman Plaza to be posted on social media with the hashtag #standinsolidaritywithMizzou.

Daria Gaither is the diversity reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].