Students, faculty, and members of administration gathered in Reynolds Campus Center on Thursday, November 12 in a show of support to student protesters at Yale University and the University of Missouri, also known as “Mizzou.” Led by the Black Student Union, the meeting echoed a national conversation about campus racism, student safety, and free speech.
Over the past weeks, students at Yale and Mizzou have demonstrated against racial discrimination on their campuses. At Yale, protests were triggered after Associate Master Erika Christakis sent an email pushing back against Halloween costume guidelines. These guidelines, distributed by a branch of Yale’s administration, outlined what kinds of costumes may be perceived as offensive.
At Mizzou, protesters forced their president to resign after accusations that he had failed to address marginalized students. Students at the university have been subject to threats on social media and over the phone, as well as physical displays of racism on campus.
At Babson, students wore all black and posed in a photo to lend solidarity. “I think that it’s important when you’re in a place of privilege to just try to be an ally in whatever way possible, and I think that being here is a hugely miniscule thing I can do to be an ally,” Kai Haskins (’18) said.
The gathering was a major part of Babson’s reaction to the incidents, which also included a prayer service in Glavin Chapel a widespread response on social media. An email from the Student Government Association urged students “to discuss the events transpiring at these two universities and to consider the role students play.”
Such a showing is rare for Babson, a school typically resistant to social movements. “This is the first time since coming to Babson that I’ve seen a physical display of solidarity in a public place about something that’s happening not on our campus,” Brenna Leary (’18) said.
Yet participants in the gathering stressed that, although they are occurring elsewhere, the protests are relevant locally.
“These issues are very alive and real in our community as well. It hasn’t had the same bubbling-up effect as what’s happened at Missou and Yale, but this is very much a reality for a lot of students of color,” Victoria Bills (’16) said.