Three members of student leadership at the University of Kansas have been asked to resign for not “standing in solidarity with their black peers.” A student group called Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk has given the university of list of “diversity demands” that must be met for racial tensions on campus to end. The Student Executive Committee has pledged their support for the student group noting that “black lives matter” and claim that three student body leaders are not standing with the group and should resign or be forced out. A white graduate student at the university says he will be going on a hunger strike until all of the “diversity demands” are granted. He says that due to his “white privilege,” his suffering is self-inflicted. However, he says the sufferings of black students is inflicted upon them.
The Daily Mail reports that a student group called Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk is making “diversity demands” to the University of Kansas. The list of demands included the hiring of a director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs by next month along with an “intense inclusion and belonging training” for the student body as a whole along with administration and staff at the university. The group also wants the percentage of underrepresented students on campus to be increased.
The Student Executive Committee has pledged support to the organization and of the diversity demands. However, three student leaders are allegedly on the outs due to not “standing in solidarity” with the group. According to the Lawrence Journal, on a 6-3 vote, with one committee member abstaining, the committee adopted “a motion of no confidence in the leadership of Student Body President Jessie Pringle, Student Body Vice President Zach George and Chief of Staff Adam Moon.” The committee told the three leaders that if they did not resign they would take up impeachment measures.
The reason for the “vote of no confidence” was noted as refusing to “stand in solidarity with their black peers and proclaim that Black Lives Matter.” It was noted that the three would not proclaim that black lives matter.
“Black students do not feel that the Student Senate provides adequate representation, funding and support for their needs.”
Though the committee is claiming that the three members are refusing to publicly support the black community on campus, the three student body leaders say otherwise. The three released a join statement that proclaimed “Black lives matter. Black lives matter at the University of Kansas.” Additionally, it seems that President Jessie Pringle is also using her Facebook to ensure that the student body knows that she stands behind the black students on campus.
Jessie posted on November 10 that racism would not be tolerated on campus and provided numbers to the local law enforcement and where to report discrimination on campus. She posted about an incident on campus where a black student was called a racial slur and physically assaulted. She claims that she reported the incident to the police and encouraged others to do the same. She also spoke about a town hall meeting on the 11th to discuss “race, respect and responsibility.”
“This time is an opportunity to address policies and procedures that are meant to keep our students safe on and off campus. Speaking up and speaking out is essential. Things must be better here for all Jayhawks. The University of Kansas is hosting a town hall meeting tomorrow to talk about race, respect and responsibility. The meeting will be at 4:00 p.m. at the Big 12 Room in the Kansas Union. I will be there – I hope you can make it as well.”
However, it seems that the efforts by Pringle may have come too late. Her executive committee is no longer supporting her and it seems that impeachment is on the table. Meanwhile, a white graduate student at the university has initiated a hunger strike. He says that he will continue the strike until he dies, ends up in the hospital or the university agrees to all of the “diversity demands.”
“I’m kind of at an advantage because of my white privilege. So my suffering is self-inflicted. Others don’t have that choice, it’s inflicted upon them.”
What do you think about the racial tensions at the University of Kansas? Do you think the university should agree to the “diversity demands?”
[Image via Facebook/ Jessie Pringle]