COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A student coalition called ProtectUMD organized a march and sit-in protest Wednesday on the campus of the University of Maryland following a racist incident discovered last month.
A noose was found at the Phi Kappa Tau chapter house on Fraternity Row on April 27. Students said the noose was found by a black chef in the kitchen of the fraternity house.
Students are upset because they claim the university’s administration did not send out an email to all students to notify them about the incident. Instead, the group said the school only sent out an alert to the presidents and leaders of the fraternities on campus and that the email went out on May 3, nearly a week after the incident.
ProtectUMD said there have been other hate incidents on campus in recent months, including white supremacist posters, chalkings and an email that circulated on Martin Luther King Jr. Day alleging that black and Indian females students are easier to sleep with.
The student group said they want stricter and swifter action from the university and they delivered a list of 64 demands to university officials for dealing with these incidents. Some of those demands include asking for punishment, such as the suspension or expulsion of anyone responsible for hate speech or actions.
ProtectUMD said they are not happy with how their meeting with university officials went.
“Everything we had to say, it was not a collaborate environment at all,” said Lauryn Froneberger of ProtectUMD. “It was kind of like we would make a comment, we would get a smirk or we would get a laugh under their breath or something like that. We didn't feel welcome is my point. We didn't feel welcome in that space, and we didn’t feel like the university administration that puts itself out there publicly to support us wasn't supporting us. I don't understand why.”
“There are many students here that don't even know that there was noose found and to not know is not okay,” said Alesia Robinson. “There should at least have been something within 24 hours to 48 hours letting the campus community know that there was a noose found and that they are doing everything in their alleged power to find out who did this. That is all we want.”
Last week, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said in a statement:
"This incident is despicable. A thorough UMPD investigation is underway. I resolutely condemn the use of a symbol of violence and hatred for the purpose of intimidating members of our University of Maryland community. All of us--students, faculty, staff, alumni-- stand united in our commitment to core values of human dignity, diversity, inclusiveness, and intellectual freedom. We stand against such craven expressions of bigotry."
University of Maryland police are investigating the noose incident.
Linda Clement, the vice president of student affairs, said in a statement that she has reached to Protect UMD to invite them to have a conversation with her so they can figure out these issues.