Students, faculty gather to protest racism on campus

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Organizers invited those who attended to share their stories, concerns and demands. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto

About 40 students and faculty members gathered at Frog Fountain Wednesday to call for the removal of faculty named in a lawsuit against the John V. Roach Honors College and speak out against racism and sexism and at TCU. 

The student-organized protest was held to support Jane Doe, the unnamed student who filed suit against TCU claiming that she was physically and verbally abused last summer by honors faculty during a month-long trip to Washington, D.C. 

The protest was led by Saffyre Falkenberg, Elaine Lysinger and Kaylee Henderson, graduate students in the English program at TCU.

Last week, the university officials held listening sessions to hear from students about their experiences of hatred and abuse.

Before inviting attendees to share their stories about discrimination on campus, Falkenberg called for the removal of the faculty members listed in the lawsuit.

“I do hope that TCU is paying attention and they take us seriously and start to move in terms of terminating faculty named in the lawsuit and in terms of responding to the list of demands that the students’ issued this morning,” Falkenberg said. 

Falkenberg’s insistence on the removal of the faculty members is one of several demands expressed by the Coalition for University Justice & Equity (CUJE). This anonymous group of TCU students published a petition online Wednesday that has been signed by over 200 people and has a goal of 500 signees.

The list is addressed to Chancellor Victor Boschini, Provost Dr. Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg and the board of trustees.

Students were invited to bring signs to the protest. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto

Students who attended the protest talked about the ongoing need to speak out against racism and discrimination. 

“I think now is the time for me to stand up,” said Jernee Goods, a senior undergraduate student. 

Several speakers specifically wanted more action from professors who had been silent on these issues. 

“Where is the tenured faculty who have protection,” Lysinger asked. “What are they using their privilege for?” 

Sophomore music and religion double major Trinity Smith said she came to the protest to support Jane Doe and others who are in similar situations and have not spoken out about their abuse. 

“I know stuff like this has been happening since the university has been founded, and either no one’s been speaking up or they haven’t been listening, so now this lawsuit is sort of forcing them to listen,” Smith said. 

However, Smith added that she does not think TCU really cares about the problems discussed in the protest, as the university has not made any changes, despite many people advocating for action. 

Lysinger said TCU needs to understand systemic failures to make institutional changes to prevent more situations like Jane Doe’s from happening and to create equality. 

“This stuff making news is finally calling attention to what TCU tries to sweep under the rug, so the louder we can be, the less likely it is that they can continue to sweep this under the rug,” said Henderson, one of the organizers.

Falkenberg said they did not currently have any specific plans to hold similar events in the future, though they might organize again, depending on what happens on campus.