Student activists gathered on the campus of Wake Forest University to call out what they say is a slow reaction to concerns of racism. They want the administration to talk less and do more.
Speakers at the Anti-Racism Coalition event detailed incidents of racism and racial insensitivity they experienced on campus, with some black students saying they'd been called the “N-word.” Others said they didn't feel comfortable living on campus.
Aries Powell is a Wake Forest senior. She criticized the university for what she says is “commitment-less dialogue” on racism. But despite what she sees as slow movement, she's optimistic change is coming.
“This is a different manifestation of activism and organizing at Wake Forest,” she says. “It has never happened in this way before. I think we're getting more response from the University than ever before. I think they are more aware of what students want and what students need.”
The coalition has submitted a list of demands to the university that includes a zero-tolerance policy for white supremacy.
Penny Rue is Vice President for Campus Life. She says the university had already been working on some of the group's demands.
“The requests that they've made that are easy to grant have been granted, like giving additional space for students," she says. "Others are a bit more complicated so what we do as a university – in the spirit of shared government – is put groups together to move forward on those.”
More than 200 people attended the event.