By Charlie Smart

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UConn undergraduate Tyler Williams addresses the crowd before the march begins. (Photo by Ryan King)

UConn students took to the streets this evening in an organized march. Students held signs and recited chants as they walked across campus, demanding institutional change to address campus culture issues related to civility, equality, and justice.

On Sept. 29, according to police reports, members of the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) used racial and sexual slurs in a verbal altercation with sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. On Nov. 10 in an open meeting to address the incident, students and faculty began to discuss broader issues relating to campus culture.

“There are reasons why organizations concerned about individual rights and civil liberties have flagged UConn for special concern,” said UConn Sociology Professor Noel Cazenave.

Cazenave says that in his more than twenty years at the university, he has never seen racial and gender tensions so high. Some of those at the town hall meeting last week accused UConn president Susan Herbst of not doing enough to promote diversity on campus.

In an email sent out to students today, President Herbst promised further investigation into the allegations against PIKE and to address the issues raised at the meeting. Organizers of the march say that such a reactionary stance on the part of the administration is “unacceptable”.

Students gather on Fairfield Way before marching to Gully Hall.

Students gather on Fairfield Way before marching to Gully Hall. (Photo by Ryan King)

The march this evening culminated at Gulley Hall, home to the office of President Herbst, where impassioned students and faculty spoke to the crowd.

WHUS News will continue to cover this story in the coming days as more develops.  Audio for tonight’s story is below.

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