"Walk Out" Encourages Thoughts, Action; Some Students Say Not Enough
This Tuesday, the People of Color Union (POCU) hosted a school-wide walkout to support students affected by racism at the University of Missouri. The gathering began at noon on Case Green, and by 12:10, roughly 500 Skidmore community members clustered in front of the dining hall. Many were satisfied with the outcome of the walkout. “I was pleased with POCU’s decisiveness toward action and inclusiveness of the community while still maintaining a safe space for people of color. I definitely saw white allies letting people of color take the stage to speak,” stated one sophomore. Indeed, POCU’s response to the racial issues on campuses throughout America has been remarkable – in this past week alone, they have organized multiple events, including an open Black Lives Matter forum and a self-care session for students of color.
However, others were less pleased with the walkout’s turnout. “This is so much bigger than one day of classes. More people should’ve come and stayed longer,” one freshman commented. There was little talk of or reflection on the events that spurned the gathering among the crowd. Many students headed back to class directly after the brief speech made by the members of POCU, missing out entirely on the banner signing, which signified a pledge to “be more aware of racial injustice on college campuses and in life outside Skidmore.” In addition, the brevity of the walkout was disappointing to some. “I would’ve liked to hear more speakers,” one freshman stated after the fact. “Some people don’t exactly know what’s been going on.”
For many, the main shortcoming of the walkout was its lack of disruption to the everyday life of Skidmore. A number of students stayed for less than fifteen minutes, simply taking a possibly welcome break from their day. However, this reflects much more on the students than on POCU, which has done a thorough job creating meaningful events across campus. It is crucial for the rest of the Skidmore community to not take these issues lightly; events like Tuesday’s walkout should be used to reflect on the injustices happening across the country. As President Glotzbach said in his email statement to the Skidmore community yesterday, “It is clear that we are still far from realizing our ambitions in creating a climate that is fully inclusive."
Update: Corrected "large crowd" to "roughly 500" (provided by Skidmore Facebook post).