Hurt and outrage are trending on Twitter as tens of thousands of black and other minority students tweet their personal experiences with racism on U.S. college campuses.
Meanwhile, campus unrest has spread beyond the University of Missouri, where a new interim president was named after two officials resigned earlier this week over their alleged insensitivity to racial issues.
From callousness about hair differences to fears about safety on campus, students across the U.S. are expressing their deepest feelings about what it means to be black on campus at the hashtag #blackoncampus.
“Telling the administration about racism, and them telling YOU to solve it. Like you work there. Like you ain't a student,” writes one.
“In the five years I attended Mizzou (University of Missouri), living on and off campus, I never felt safe,” said another.
Other tweets noted the small percentage of black students relative to the student body, or detected hypocrisy, “when white students complain about affirmative action and minority scholarships, but don't complain about ‘legacy’ admissions.”
#blackoncampus was created Wednesday afternoon by Mizzou’s Concerned Student 1950 organization and quickly went national. By Thursday morning, the New York Times reported at least 65,000 tweets with that hashtag had been sent.
Together, the tweets send a searing and largely unheard message that reached at least one presidential candidate. “I am listening,” tweeted Senator Bernie Sanders. “It’s time to address structural racism on college campuses.”
But Republican candidate Donald Trump was disparaging on Fox News Thursday. “Their demands are like crazy.”
The dean of students at Claremont McKenna College in California stepped down Thursday amid accusations that she was unsupportive of students of color. Dean Mary Spellman resigned after two students embarked on hunger strikes. “I hope this [resignation] will help enable a truly thoughtful, civil and productive discussion about the very real issues of diversity than inclusion facing Claremont McKenna,” Spellman wrote.
On Wednesday, hundreds of students at Ithaca College in New York demonstrated to demand the resignation of their school president over his allegedly sluggish response to racial issues. Students at Smith College in Massachusetts walked out of class to show solidarity with other protests.
At Yale University in Connecticut, there has been turmoil since Halloween over competing emails from a dean and a faculty member. The dean urged students to choose inoffensive Halloween costumes, while the faculty member bemoaned political correctness, asking if there isn’t room for young people to be a “little bit obnoxious.”
Protests at other schools are planned.
Back at Mizzou
The University of Missouri has appointed a recently retired senior administrator to be interim president. Michael Middleton, who is black, will lead the school until a permanent replacement can be found for the president who resigned Monday, along with the school’s chancellor.
"Color in this country is an issue…that affects many, many decisions that are made, positively and negatively. We need to understand that, accept it, and get beyond it," Middleton said at a news conference.
A 19-year-old white Missouri man charged with making terrorist threats on social media to shoot black students at the University of Missouri campus was denied bond on Thursday. Court documents said Hunter Park expressed a "deep interest" in a recent Oregon school massacre.
Police said Park's threats had circulated on social media, including a messaging app called Yik Yak. He is a student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.
A student at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville was charged with two counts of making a terrorist threat for sentiments he allegedly posted on Yik Yak.