Campus Activism

SU students rally in solidarity with University of Missouri protesters

Katherine Sotelo | Asst. Feature Editor

Members of the SU community rallied in solidarity with the protesters at the University of Missouri on Thursday.

During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks about sexual assault on college campuses Thursday afternoon, about 100 members of the Syracuse University community held a rally to show solidarity with protestors at the University of Missouri and call for racial justice.

The rally started at about 1 p.m. in between Hendricks Chapel and the Physics Building. Biden took the stage inside of Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center about 10 minutes before. Students held signs that said “#SU to Mizzou,” “I Stand With Concerned Student 1950” and “Black Lives Matter.”

“I’m tired of not feeling safe on campus … we face discrimination on this campus everyday,” a protester said.

After Biden finished speaking, the protesters marched to Schine where they had to be checked into the building by security. Before any protesters could enter Schine each person had to have their bags searched. Security outside Schine also used a metal detector wand on each student coming in.

Rally leaders encouraged students not to feel intimidated or distressed by the security and police presence.

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DPS Chief Bobby Maldonado said the security was strictly from Biden’s visit and had nothing to do with the rally. He added that he applauds protesters’ for exercising their right to peacefully assemble.

“We heard some chatter that a group of students wanted to assemble,” he said. “I think that’s great.”

Protest leaders said during the rally they wanted to get the attention of those in power, which is why the rally was held at the same time as Biden’s speech.

“We crashed the Schine Atrium when the vice president was here,” a rally leader said. “People should talk about that.”

Student Association President Aysha Seedat said it’s “amazing” that students are raising their opinions, especially in light of the other protests on college campuses around the country calling for racial justice. She said it was a good time to do it in Schine when everyone was leaving the It’s On Us event.

Phalande Jean, a graduate student in the marriage and family therapy program, said the rally was held at a “perfect time” to talk about racial discrimination and sexual assault, which aren’t two separate issues, she said.

Toward the end of the rally, after much of the crowd left, Emma Stoll, a third year architecture student, read a poem to the crowd of around 40 people. She read the poem, titled “What’s Growing On Here” nearly in tears, her voice cracking.

“Bodies precipitating justice and equality / but only ever being fed brutality,” a line of the poem read.

–Asst. news editor Alexa Torrens contributed reporting to this article.







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