A group of students is asking the Purdue Board of Trustees to do more to fight racism and discrimination.
About a dozen students stood up at the beginning of the board’s committee meeting, holding signs that reflect some requests they’ve made in a petition. After about ten minutes, the group walked out of the meeting, holding their signs and some with their fists in the air.
Doctoral student Tyrell Connor says the latest incident of racism was the defacing of a portrait of former Krannert Professor Cornell Bell, which happened earlier this year. However, he says there are many more like it.
"This is a reoccurring event that's been happening on Purdue's campus and we think there hasn't been enough conversation between the students and those in charge who can actually make a tangible difference.”
The group wants an anti-racism grievance committee to investigate instances of racism or discrimination. They also want a better effort made at recruiting minority students and faculty, basically doubling current numbers to meet the national average of 35%. Third, the coalition wants all in-coming students to take a course on the history of race and racism in the United States.
Trustee Don Thompson, the board’s only African American member, followed the group out and spoke with them.
"Clearly, we'll have a chance to chat and I'll definitely try to be a liaison and forward the messages on [to the board of trustees]. I know you're not here for one incident, but you're here for other things that might be done."
He says the board wants to hear their concerns, but they were not aware of the petition until the meeting. A group member said the petition with signatures was sent to the trustees’ office two-weeks ago.
You can see the petition they presented to the board HERE.