A group of University of South Carolina students walked out of class Monday morning to protest alleged inequalities for minority groups at the university.
The “USC 2020 Vision” group began an online petition called “Here’s No Place Like Home,” which outlines 12 demands to President Harris Pastides for minority groups at the university. The petition called for students to walk out of class at 11 a.m. Monday to participate in a protest at the Longstreet Theatre, before marching to the Osborne Administration Building near the Horseshoe.
“In order to meet the following demands, we are asking that the university create a diverse, representative, knowledgeable Student Board of Trustees,” the petition read. “This board will oversee the implementation of our vision before the year 2020. Additionally, to carry out these initiatives, we ask that the university use its many diversity committees to aid in the follow up required for these demands. Show us that you truly believe in no limits at the University of South Carolina.”
Among the demands, which included greater minority recruitment as well as the building of gender-neutral facilities, the group called for an independent investigation into several of the university’s top officials, but the group does not say why those officials should be investigated.
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In a statement released from Pastides Friday, he asked for students to “pause and reflect on the vents taking place on college campuses across the country and the environment that exists on our own campus.”
“We appreciate our students making their voice heard, participating in civil discourse and continuing the dialogue toward making our campus a safe and welcoming environment for all students. The issues they have raised will do much to guide the conversation. In fact, many are already being addressed or are included in the university’s strategic plans.
“We have been planning a new initiative designed to host further dialogue and conversation directed toward action, the South Carolina Collaborative on Race and Reconciliation under the direction of our chief diversity officer, Dr. John Dozier. Provost Gabel and Dr. Dozier are incorporating diversity and inclusiveness as part of our measurable campus progress. We are creating a new leadership distinction in social justice to encourage individual and societal efforts to improve the lives of all. The Social Compact Task Force that has been meeting this semester is addressing many of these issues as well, and a full report and recommendation is expected in the spring semester. Just to name a few.
“We remain steadfastly committed to improving our institution for the benefit of all members of the Carolina family. The leadership and opinions of these students are welcome and much appreciated. We look forward to addressing their concerns as we move forward in creating a safe, welcoming and comfortable environment in which all Gamecocks can thrive—ensuring that we are inclusive in the process of determining next steps and taking action.”
Several people took to social media to both criticize and support the group’s protest and demands.