PROTEST AT SUNY BROCKPORT
By Egypt Page
“No justice, no peace!”. A phrase that would be heard throughout the campus of SUNY Brockport on the night of December 2nd, 2021. Just last Thursday, more than a hundred students and staff came together in protest of racial injustices that took place within the community of Brockport.
Reminiscent of the protest nearly 2 years ago at SUNY Brockport, students say this protest had the same objective in mind, just different circumstances.
A video posted to TikTok by a SUNY Brockport student on November 28th, hinted toward the use of a racial slur. The video included a black male which caused a massive uproar from students on social media.
The video left many students saying they want answers and repercussions.
After students found out about the video, some said they felt compelled to share their stories of racism at SUNY Brockport on social media.
One story that gained attraction happened not too long ago in the town of Brockport.
SUNY Brockport senior, Kaitlyn Facey, and Diane Fatoumata, said they were walking home one night with a couple of friends. They said they were walking home, when a truck full of men pulled alongside them and yelled out inappropriate/racial language towards them.
In a recent interview conducted by Channel 8 News (WROC), Facey, said she hopes for a change at SUNY Brockport.
“I’m just hoping for change…Everyone is equal. Everyone should be treated the same.” said Facey.
SUNY Brockport Senior, Anthony Sanata, was one of the three protest organizers. Sanata, says changes need to happen on campus and in the town of Brockport to ensure that everyone feels welcome and safe.
“We are here to make change and voice our concerns. In order to make change we need all hands on deck. Keep in mind the mission at hand, not only today but after.” said Sanata.
The protest started in the Seymour College Union and was followed by a performance promoting black pride. Rochester City Councilmen and SUNY Brockport Alumni, Vince Felder, were in attendance, accompanied by former SUNY Brockport Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Cephas Archie.
Felder said this has been an ongoing issue.
“This isn’t the first protest at SUNY Brockport, and this probably won’t be the last,” said Felder. “I was once in your shoes not too long ago. It will be up to you to continue and apply pressure for what you want out of this school. The change starts today and can’t stop tomorrow.” he added.
Felder was said to be hinting toward the fact that things seem to stay the same at SUNY Brockport. He said that it is up to the students to continue the conversation about equality on campus.
The protest continued with a march to SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson’s house. Students said chants echoed through the streets as students, staff and even some of the University Police made their way to Macpherson’s home.
“Protect Black Women!”
“Black Lives Matter!”
We’re shouted and directed toward Macpherson’s home. Protesters lined up across the street and some even stood in the parking lot next to her home.
Many said they wanted her to come out and acknowledge the problem at hand.
SUNY Brockport senior and former Resident Assistant, Nicole Vasquez, was at the protest in support of the change needed on and off campus. Vasquez believes the change must start in the classroom:
“I think there’s a lot of things that would benefit the college. I saw a lot of people saying having mandatory classes, but i don’t think that would help because one class wouldn’t be enough to express the racial concerns,” said Vasquez.
“I think it really starts with in the classrooms and us having to continuously go to class everyday and none of our professors having conversations on the issues is a big concern because they’re quick to express their concerns on current events throughout the world instead of our campus. Definitely having those conversations regularly in classes no matter the subject of the course would be helpful.” she added.
With the last week of classes and finals coming up, many students and leaders in the area have spoken out on the situation. SUNY Brockport will have an entire winter break to weather their storm. More importantly, students say they hope this school finds solutions for their climate and diversity problem.