An Ithaca College walkout has taken place in upstate New York only a couple days after the president at the University of Missouri resigned following a student walkout. The students at Ithaca College have staged their own walkout in order to get President Tom Rochon to resign from his position at Ithaca. The students at Ithaca are claiming that Rochon has not responded or done anything in regards to stopping incidents of racism on campus. A protest organizer commented on the walkout.
“With University of Missouri’s president stepping down, we demand Rochon to do the same as it is vital to fight against both covert and overt racism in all places of education and empowerment.”
People of Color at Ithaca College is a group at Ithaca College that are urging a vote of confidence or no confidence take place by November 30. If the students vote no confidence, Rochon will not be required to leave. In order for Rochon to be removed as president, he would have to resign or be removed by the Ithaca’s board of trustees. The board of trustees is supporting Rochon at the moment. Tom Grape, the chair of Ithaca’s board of trustees, talked about how he feels about the atmosphere on campus.
“It is not easy to see the IC community that I love going through such a difficult time — to see so many of our students recounting experiences that leave them feeling fear, pain and alienation at a time in their lives when they should instead be feeling welcomed, supported and inspired. Board members and I are in contact on a daily basis with the president and other campus leaders about the issues that are taking place, and I am committed to helping the institution address its problems so that we may become the Ithaca College that we all know we can be. “
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 11, 2015
Multiple events at Ithaca over the past few months that had racial undertones were the catalyst that led to students walking out and calling for the resignation of Rochon. Last month, a party was held at a frat house in which the theme was for some of the attendees to dress “thuggish style.” The party never happened due to complaints about the theme. Some students have expressed that they were victims of racial profiling by campus police while another racial incident happened when a woman of color was called a “savage.” Rochon commented on the situation.
“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. Even so, we reaffirm our commitment to making our campus an inclusive and respectful community.”
A website has been developed in order for students, and other people, to see what walkout organizers plan is to stop the racial problems that are happening at Ithaca. The website can be found here.
On the heels of the Missouri and Ithaca walkouts, will we see other colleges attempt the same thing? These two schools are not the only ones dealing with racial problems. Yale, the University of California, Los Angelas, and the University of Mississippi are other colleges around the country who are having problems with race-related issues. Could these colleges be the next ones to stage a walkout?
What are your thoughts on the Ithaca College walkout? Will the walkout work?
[Image Via Twitter]