By Sylvia Cunningham
Students and faculty at the University of Connecticut marched from the Student Union to Gulley Hall Tuesday evening, chanting and holding signs.
As temperatures continued to sink into the 20s, protesters arrived at their destination and formed a semicircle around the entrance to Gulley Hall, which is home to the offices of both the president and provost.
UConn Sociology Professor Noel Cazenave says there’s one thing that’s becoming increasingly clear to him every day.
“We have an administration here at UConn that seems to be as deaf, dumb and blind as it is heartless,” Cazenave said.
Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Diversity Dana Wilder spoke with the organizers of the protest but did not comment to the crowd. WHUS News spoke with Wilder after the protesters made their way back to the Student Union.
“People just feel like there’s been no action at all. So I think this was a perfect way for people to express themselves and let the university know that these are real concerns,” Wilder said.
The issue of campus racism has been thrust into the spotlight since a town hall meeting organized by the cultural centers took place on Nov. 10. Members of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha said they have felt unsafe on campus since Sept. 29 when, according to police reports, they were verbally harassed by the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha or PIKE.
UConn senior Justine Nolletti says she has class with some of the members of AKA, and when the topic came up, she saw one student leave the room.
“You could tell she was crying and it broke my heart for her that she pays this money to go this university to get an education and she feels unsafe in her environment,” Nolletti said.
UConn Students for Sensible Drug Policy President Tyler Williams says he plans to help organize future events to ensure the issue does not fizzle out.
“These things don’t go away, they just come back stronger.”