Central Washington University President James Gaudino and Nina Caldwell, Associated Students of CWU (ASCWU) vice president for Legislative Affairs, talked about the issues surrounding student government at CWU, namely there only being one black officer on the board. (Jonathan Glover/Observer)
Central Washington University President James Gaudino and Nina Caldwell, Associated Students of CWU (ASCWU) vice president for Legislative Affairs, talked about the issues surrounding student government at CWU, namely there only being one black officer on the board.

Jonathan Glover/Observer

Students protest racism on Central’s campus

Amidst controversy at University of Missouri, diversity club members hold Black Lives Matter protest in SURC

November 12, 2015

Today about 60 students protested racial injustice on the Central Washington University campus.

The protest started at about noon in the Student Union & Recreation Center (SURC) marketplace.

“Racism is happening out here in the middle of nowhere…” said Armando Ortiz, who helped organize the event. “It’s happening to the person right next to you.”

The group linked arms and formed a circle with a few students in the middle discussing the issues of racism at Central’s Ellensburg campus. They chose the SURC due to its high traffic of students.

Students at the protest said they were showing solidarity to support students from the University of Missouri.

Protesters at the University of Missouri made national headlines after reports of racism surfaced on campus. These controversies sparked a demand for University of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe to resign.

Wolfe resigned on Monday.

We had to be loud for people to hear us. Honestly, that makes me mad.”

— Armando Ortiz, Diversity Activist

Ortiz and Gianni Glover, a member of the Black Student Union and an organizer of the event, requested President James Gaudino to come talk to the group of students.

When Gaudino arrived, he was invited to stand in the middle of the circle and field questions, concerns, and complaints students had about Central’s treatment of minorities.

Glover asked students in the crowd to join Gaudino in the middle of the circle to discuss racism on campus.

President Gaudino promised students he would make more of an effort to support diversity on campus by writing a letter to the University of Missouri rejecting racism and standing by the students who feel oppressed.

Gaudino also promised to attend diversity group meetings and events.

“I reject racism in all forms; there is no place for it at this university or anywhere,” Gaudino said later in a press release. “I look forward to continuing discussions with students to find ways we can ensure that Central is a place that welcomes all of its students regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference.”

Following Gaudino’s closing statement, the activists participated in a “die-in” protest where they laid on the ground simulating death and bringing attention to the social movement: black lives matter.

“Every time we try to do anything ‘by the book’, everything was falling on deaf ears…” Ortiz said. “Because we were loud. We had to be the stereotypical ‘P.O.C.’ [people of color]. We had to be loud for people to hear us. Honestly, that makes me mad.”

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Students protest racism on Central’s campus”

  1. Alex on November 13th, 2015 12:29 am

    Racism is obviously a very hot topic and something to tread on lightly. The race card is played often in favor of this discriminated against and understandably so. However, how would those same students react if scholarships, financial aid or acceptance wasn’t granted due to lack of a quota system needed to fill out demographics for universities. Many deserving students aren’t accepted into major universities or aren’t given the same financial aids in lieu of a institution needing to have more ethnicities to meet the required per capita. You can’t just play the racism card when it suits you and then claim you don’t receive benefits of being a minority. I don’t know just a thought.

  2. Daisy on November 13th, 2015 10:49 am

    As a POC I will not let you diminish my accomplishment because you think I got into this university to fill a quota. I earned by right to be here just like you did Alex. I deserve the financial aid, scholarships and grants I receive. I’ve work just as hard as you have if not harder to continue onto higher education. I had to pave my way in an education system that does not acknowledge my cultures contributions and accomplishment. Just because you have not experienced racism does not mean it does not exist. It is alive and well here in the US just take a look at some of our presidential candidates. It is up to us to change this and the only way change is going to come is by speaking about the issues. Do not diminish people’s experiences if you have not experienced it. I am much much more than a number used to fill a quota. I have earned my spot at this university just like you.

  3. John on November 13th, 2015 3:39 pm

    The students need to change the racist white walls in all the classrooms! I feel diminished with all the white snow, white clouds, and white ceilings around campus

  4. Dino on November 16th, 2015 4:26 pm

    If I gave you a seed and someone else the actual fruit would you stand there feeling slighted or go plant the seed?

    Yes

    Get loud and be proud!

    Stand up for yourself and mankind

    Make a difference

    Your only human for Gods sake.

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