Following the four racial slurs found on Eastern Michigan University’s campus and the original four students being sanctioned for their involvement in the Student Center protest in early November, more sanctions have followed and will continue.
“We can’t identify all students involved because none of them gave us their identification. We can only go by video, so as we identify more students we will continue the due process,” said Phillips.
Since late September, several racial slurs have been discovered including: “KKK, Go Home N*****rs” was spray painted on King Hall; “Leave N*****rs" was spray painted on Ford Hall; “N*****rs” spray painted in the elevator of Hoyt Residence Hall; “N*****rs” was spray painted in the stairwell of Wise Residence Hall.
In response to these incidents, over 200 students came together in the to the Student Center with overnight necessities shortly after midnight, Nov. 2. Following the closing of the building at 1 a.m. the students locked arms as EMU Public Safety and Associate Vice President Calvin Phillips asked them to leave, stating the students were in violation of student conduct and Michigan law. Half of the 200 students left as a result.
Officers video recorded the students who stayed and eventually let the students be. The students proceeded to have a peaceful sit-in. Students did homework, danced, performed poetry and congregated together in several other ways.
“I think it's messed up that people are being penalized for protesting but I'm not surprised at all. EMU is part of a bigger system of white supremacy and their persistence to persecute students for protesting against racism is a prime example of their contribution to the system. I'm annoyed and ready to continue protesting with those who want to continue the fight,” said an anonymous student that has recently been sanctioned.
EMU NAACP chapter has been sending representatives to all student conduct meetings, and contributing to efforts to prevent students from being suspended.
Most of the students being sanctioned have said that they chose to remain anonymous in order to be a united front, and the students view EMU’s sanctions as an attack on the black community as a whole.
Geoffrey Larcom. Director or media relations stated, “EMU has always and will continue to support the rights of our students to peacefully demonstrate on issues of importance to them.”
“Sanctions have nothing to due with the protest it’s the fact that the students didn’t leave the building,” said Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Calvin Phillips. He expressed that students protest will not be supported if they are violating policy, and feels EMU well granting leeway when it came to the football game demonstration.
During the football game a demonstration of about 200 students were stopped on a grassy hill behind the south end zone of Rynearson Stadium. Officers and members EMU executive originally told students that the grass the hill was apart of the field and that they were trespassing but the students were not reprimanded and were allowed to walk the field after the game.
The EMU Black Student 10 Point Plan was introduced to EMU executive team last by members of the Black Student Union last year, there was work being done towards it and the plan was reintroduced following the first incident of racist hate speech targeting the black community mid Sept.
The demonstration at the football game was following the first two of the four incidents. Since the incidents began the executive team has begun working on developing a committee for black homecoming, and more programming for black women through Counselling and Physiological Services (CAPS) that will partner with the Sisterhood Initiative. In addition there will be more training in place for new faculty and staff, and more cultural teaching options for students during freshman orientation. There are also more camera and lighting advances being worked on throughout campus.
“We are actively pursuing the people responsible for the hate speech those efforts have not gone away,” said Phillips. He also apologized to students that feel EMU is doing more to sanction student protesters then they are to catch the culprits responsible for painting the racial slurs.