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'From CHI To Mizzou,' Loyola Students March Against Racism, Gentrification

By Linze Rice | November 12, 2015 7:37pm
 Students at Loyola University protest Thursday afternoon in solidarity with student protesters at University of Missouri.
Students at Loyola University protest Thursday afternoon in solidarity with student protesters at University of Missouri.
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ROGERS PARK — Around 700 Loyola students and community members marched on the Far North Side campus Thursday afternoon to demonstrate solidarity with the ongoing protests at the University of Missouri.

Groups, including many student activists of color, carried signs reading "Black Lives Matter" and rallied against gentrification they feel is happening in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

The Black Tribune, a news blog run by students at the university, tweeted about the protests and posted on their website that they were among colleges across the country joining the movement at "Mizzou."

The Missouri university has been under fire for its response to racism on campus, as well as its response to threats against student protesters of color. Several of the university's top administrators, including its president, and other faculty members have either resigned or been placed on leave.

In a statement issued on the blog, the group wrote:

"We hope to use this opportunity to address our concerns with Loyola’s administration and their ongoing dismissal and lack of accountability toward students of color on campus, particularly black students.

"Not only do we wish to highlight the systemic oppression faced by black and brown students in collegiate institutions, but also to emphasize the impact they have on their surrounding communities. The demands of the students will be declared at the demonstration on Thursday.

"We are not fighting to reform or support the oppressive systems that academia upholds. We are fighting for more spaces where black and brown students are safe and no longer traumatized and targeted."

In a statement, Loyola's Interim President John P. Pelissero, said the university applauded the actions of students and stood by demonstrators.

He also said a group of protestors visited the school's Office of Student Development to deliver a list of concerns "related to their experience on campus as students of color" and the university would take those issues seriously.

"I can assure you that University leaders have received the list, we want to hear more, and we will respond to these concerns," he wrote. "Student leaders, the Office of Student Development, the Office of the Provost, and Human Resources will collaborate to advance this campus conversation. I will work with them in the coming weeks to see that the momentum created today continues."

The Tribune also reported that Loyola's Yik-Yak feed, a messaging app, began to fill with racist comments Tuesday night.

Screenshots of those comments include statements like, "Go back to apefreaka" and "What do you think marching around yelling will accomplish besides just making people hate you?"

Another person wrote, "I have a flour cannon for this exact reason."

In the president's letter, he too addressed the racial comments on social media, saying, "I want to emphasize that our community has zero tolerance for all hate-filled, racist comments, and I can assure you that anyone, whether student or employee, found responsible for these comments will be subject to the University’s conduct process."

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