NAACP, others make four demands in response to racist whiteboard message
NAACP chapter President Australyah Coleman made four demands to Central Michigan University in response to the racist messages left on a whiteboard outside a dorm room in Sweeney Hall.
First, she demanded each CMU student be required to take a cultural course pertaining to their major or minor. Next, Coleman urged that cameras be placed and used in hallways of residence halls. She later demanded that a certified third party host a race and ethnicity training that would be mandatory for all faculty, staff, students and police.
“We expect these plans to be met or initiated within the next month,” Coleman said. She received a swarm of cheers from the crowd of about 200 people.
Her last demand was specific.
Coleman demanded a public apology from the officer that responded to the incident in Sweeney Hall on the night of Nov. 7 by the end of the week — giving the officer a three-day period to apologize for comparing the racist act witnessed to what officers experience every day.
“Of course, the officer we spoke to compared the hate of his badge to our blackness,” Coleman said. “We will not be silenced.”
This demand drew the largest cheer from the crowd. The protest came after three CMU students found a racist message written on a whiteboard outside of her room Wednesday. Yasmeen Duncan took a photo of the message on the whiteboard and alerted her roommates. They alerted the residence hall director and the police about what had happened.
The message on the whiteboard read: “fuck u monkey black whores.”
“If the demands are not met by the time this was given, we will have more protests and rallies and will do whatever it takes to get our demands met,” Coleman said.
The three groups who organized the protest — CMU’s NAACP chapter, the Black Student Union and Collective Action for Cultural Unity — organized the event within a few hours the morning after the incident.
CMU President Robert Davies released a statement on the incident in Sweeney Hall at 11:45 a.m.
“I assure you racism, misogyny, bigotry and hatred will not be tolerated on this campus,” the statement said. Davies repeated this statement while speaking at the sit-in protest.
Davies also responded to the activist groups’ demands.
“The demands that I heard are reasonable, they’re actually ones that we’ve been working on,” Davies told Central Michigan Life. “It is important that we do have curricular components to all the majors that support diversity and inclusion.”
Before Davies spoke and the demands were given, two of the affected roommates had a chance to thank the crowd for showing their support.
Correction: A previous version of this story identified the Organization of Black Unity as one of the groups that supported the event, instead of the Black Student Union.