Michelle Adams, Managing Editor
Since its founding in 2012, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has extended its reach across the United States, into small towns, like Winchester, and even onto college campuses.
Many black Americans who have been killed in recent years, either by police or in racially-motivated shootings, have been of college age. In an effort to combat this, student activism is on the rise.
After the August 2014 death of Missouri teen, Michael Brown, CNN reported that University of Missouri (“Mizzou”) students were unhappy with the rising issue of racism on their campus. While university officials acknowledged their concerns, they failed to take action in response, prompting several protests by students. Throughout September and October of 2015, demonstrations occurred multiple times per week, but still, administration did nothing. In early November, President Tim Wolfe finally resigned his post.
When word spread that Mizzou’s student protests inspired real change on their campus, other colleges attempted to do the same.
Boston University, known for standing with Mizzou in the midst of the controversy, created a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force with hopes to increase acceptance of others on campus. They hope to, “submit a final report,” of the university’s standing thus far by May 1, according to USA Today College.
USA Today also shared that Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and University of California-Berkeley, are both working to increase diversity percentages in students and faculty members. Brandeis has already begun the search for a new, “Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion,” a step in the right direction for the university.
Last November, at the University of Alabama, “a coalition of students and faculty,” calling themselves, “We Are Done,” began fighting for the renaming of several campus buildings that were allegedly named for white supremacists and Confederate generals. While no name-changes have taken place, the movement gained momentum last month, with the opening of UA’s Intercultural Diversity Center on Feb. 1. Petitions are continuing to be released for the renaming of the buildings.
Other colleges are taking part in their own push for new building titles. At Princeton University, a movement is in effect to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus buildings for his, “racist legacy,” according to USA Today. While this has caused much debate, there is a special committee in place to consider the notion.
Protests at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. have been successful in name changes, several of which were approved last December.
Our own Shenandoah University is also getting involved in the battle against racism, as well, with university and student-led discussions and movements on campus.
While the fight is far from over, college students nationwide are doing their part to make the United States a better place to live for people of all races.
Feature photo courtesy of USA Today College