At 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, a group of about 100 students and faculty gathered in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) to begin a march for diversity after recent events on and around campus.
The group walked from the student union to the gate and around campus, carrying signs and chanting things like “love not hate makes America great,” and “the people united will never be defeated.” President Paul also made an appearance at the corner of Main Street, expressing her support for the march.
The event was a collaborative effort between Pride and the Students for the Advancement of African American Culture (SAAAC) in response to recent hate acts committed on and around campus.
Two students have come forward with accounts of being harassed so far. Just last week, a first-year student found a derogatory note slipped under the door of his dorm room, and last weekend, a female student reported that she had been attacked by two men near campus.
“When that kind of hatred happens we need to show those people love,” said Kimberly Rhodes, a second-year student, speaking about the hate acts appearing around campus and across the country.
Brandon Briscoe-Pope, a senior at Capital, said he was marching and chanting with the group to be a part of the movement and stand with the voices here.
“In these dark times, we must stand together,” he said.
After the march, the group met in the student union to discuss the event. Students expressed wishes to see Capital University staff support more of these functions. Other students said that they hoped to see their peers discussing the situations rather than “tip-toeing” around these tough topics.
Almar Walter, the director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Capital, was one of the faculty members to attend the event. He said he hopes his fellow staff will take students’ requests to heart and show up to and support events like the diversity march. Walter also said he was proud of the students for what they’ve done.
Naima Elmi, a member of SAAAC, was one of the coordinators of the event. She said the idea for the event started when she read about what happened with the first-year student and the note. She wanted to express her support and show that the Capital community is standing with any attacked student.
“This is Capital University and there’s no place for hate here,” Elmi said.
Elmi also tried to keep chants and signs from the marchers non-political, as she thinks the problem is far beyond politics at this point.
“I don’t care who you voted for,” Elmi said, “I want you to respect people’s basic human rights.”
The group ended their march about 5 p.m., when Elmi called for students to support the minorities on campus, saying, “You don’t have to look like them to support them.”