About 100 students, faculty, staff and community members marched Tuesday evening to protest police brutality.
The march, which was organized by the Coalition for University Justice and Equity (CUJE), started at the TCU Bookstore and ended at Trinity Park, where a candlelight vigil was held for the victims of police brutality.
The demonstration, which was also live streamed, joined the chorus of protests calling for the end of police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died May 25 after Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes.
Chauvin, who at the time was a police officer, has been charged with second degree murder. But this came only after nights of protests across the nation.
Shelby Johnson, one of the student organizers of CUJE, led the protest.
The recent TCU graduate said the protest gave TCU students the opportunity to support the Black Lives Matter movement and demand change without consequences and censorship.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout.”Shelby Johnson, CUJE
“Measuring success is a tricky thing when it comes to protests. As far as providing an outlet for TCU’s black community and other historically marginalized communities, we believe it was incredibly successful and hope to use that momentum to keep change going,” she said. “However, true success comes when our demands are fulfilled and there is justice for all three Jane Does.”
Johnson said demands made by CUJE last semester have yet to be met with a commitment to change from the TCU administration.
Johnson said she hopes participants gained a platform to express their grievances and found comfort in the TCU community.
“We hope that the urgency of activism was made clear and that it is not solely the responsibility of historically marginalized communities to protest and challenge the systems and powers that be,” she said. “We are confident that people felt a sense of hope to keep the work going until actual change is made.”
Chancellor Victor Boschini, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull and head men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon were among those who participated in the march.
Boschini said he is always in favor of students and faculty expressing their opinions and the protest made a strong statement about their feelings.
“My presence at anything is not important,” he said. “I am not important. I just wanted to support their cause as I believe in it: both as the chancellor and as a citizen.”
Sophomore secondary education major Edriana Cofer participated in the protest with her parents. Cofer said she attended the protest because activism is rooted in action, but she is disappointed in TCU’s response to the murder of George Floyd.
“I am frustrated and very disappointed in TCU’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement,” she said. “On social media, they’ve been very passive and superficial.”
Some people accused TCU of being hypocritical after the university Twitter account expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Cofer said she also hasn’t thought much of the Boschini’s emails. “The chancellor sent out yet another email with a lot of fluff that didn’t include any action plans he’s taking to accommodate the black community and he didn’t even acknowledge that black lives matter or the movement itself,” she said.
Boschini said he has heard from several campus groups that are planning peaceful demonstrations against police brutality in the future.