After a series of negative race-related incidents, Kansas State University will halt classes Tuesday to hold a campus-wide rally against racism.
K-State President Richard Myers announced the event Wednesday evening.
The plan is for the bell at Anderson Hall to ring across campus at 1 p.m. Students, faculty and staff will walk in unison from classrooms and offices to the lawn in front of Anderson, the central administration building.
On the lawn Myers intends to deliver a “message of unity” and outline steps to “move our campus and community forward.”
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Student leaders, including K-State’s student body president Jack Ayres, and the Black Student Union president, Darrell Reese Jr., will also participate.
“It has been a particularly tough semester for us,” Ayres said in a telephone interview with The Star on Thursday about the planned rally. “I think our campus mirrors the problems we see nationally. A lot of campuses are dealing with similar issues.”
He mentioned that race relations have not be the only challenge on the campus and said students from various minority communities represented on the campus have been targeted — “Anti-Semitism, homophobia, various religious groups.”
The rally comes a week after an incident near the Manhattan campus in which, a 21-year-old black man defaced his own car with racist graffiti.
Law enforcement agencies, including Riley County Police and the FBI, originally looked into the case as a possible hate crime. They later learned the young man did it himself and described it to police as a Halloween prank that got out of hand. No charges were filed.
Earlier in the year, a noose was found hanging from a tree in the center of campus and in a separate incident fliers containing white supremacist messages were posted around the campus.
Ayres said such incidents, “are an attack on inclusion, and diversity, and an attack on equity.” The rally, Ayres said, “is an opportunity for us to press pause and come together to reaffirm our position on diversity.”