News Analysis

My Twitter highlights of Simpson’s Feb. 28 student protest

Protesters gather outside Mary Berry, led by sophomores Natalia Olivas and Linda Ramseur. Photo: Randy Paulson

I spent Wednesday morning live-tweeting a student protest which took place on campus. The protest involved about 30 students who skipped their morning classes and congregated in the brick patio between Mary Berry and Dunn Library.

The protest was in response to an open forum event the Simpson administration held on Feb. 19 in the wake of an incident involving a threatening, racially based note a student received at their on-campus residence. Many students who attended forum were not satisfied with some of the administrator’s responses. They believed the college has not done enough to address students’ safety concerns following this and other instances of violence and harassment against students.

Sophomore Natalia Olivas was in charge of organizing the protest and explained what inspired them to do so:

“We are here protesting the fact that the administration has done very little about race-related events. And, even if they have done anything, they haven’t released that information to the students. So, how are the students supposed to feel safe if they don’t even know what’s going on behind-the-scenes with things that are so hateful towards this community?”

Other students also criticized the college for not being more transparent in how it informs students about actions it takes in response to safety threats.

Students at the forum, as well as at the protest, also pointed out a lack of racial diversity amongst the college faculty and staff.

According to The Simpsonian, senior Robert King had expressed his annoyance at the fact the forum was led mostly by white people, with Walter Lain being the only person of color facilitating.

King said, “The only person of color is standing here handing around the microphone, and that’s really irritating.”

Several students made signs bearing quotes from famous authors and civil rights activists with them to the protest. Junior Chau Tran holds one with a quote from William Faulkner:

Junior Audrey Kaus and junior Rachel Riley hold another with a Desmond Tutu quote:

The protest was a way for students to take action and let the administration know that  issues of race, student safety, transparency and trust are important to them.

In the end, protesters collected the signatures of over 200 students and faculty for a petition which lists specific actions they want the college to take to be more transparent and also to better represent students of color, according to The Simpsonian’s coverage of the event.


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