Anti-white supremacy marchers call out WSU president

Students use first weekend before school to march for inclusion and unity


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Marchers Naomi Franklin (left) and Brandon Townsend walk in Saturday's "March Against White Supremacy" at WSU.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Roughly 200 marchers made up of WSU students, faculty, staff and Pullman community members formed a line winding down the Stadium Way sidewalk Saturday, while Pullman police stood guard nearby.

The scores of participants chanted, “No Nazi.  No KKK.  No Fascist U.S.A.,” in their demonstration against white supremacy and discrimination on campus and across the country.

The enthusiastic, but peaceful demonstration started at Beasley Coliseum, moved through the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall, then circled back toward Stadium Way, ending next to the Mooberry Track.

Other chants at the march included, “hey hey, ho ho, hate on campus has got to go,” “white silence is white violence,” and “wake up, Kirk,” in reference to WSU President Kirk Schulz.

Students Lashae Daniels and Evergreen columnist Mohamed Salem led the protest, with help from community advocate Katherine Mary Meyer.

TEVA MAYER | The Daily Evergreen


Similar marches were held Saturday in cities around the country, such as Boston and New Orleans, in response to the “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, that broke out in violence, leaving one woman dead and many injured.

Junior Orion Welch said he decided to march to advocate for the rights of students of color.

“I live in Virginia,” Welch said. “So to see that in the state that I live in, it’s important that we don’t let it spread and we stand up for ourselves regardless of where [white supremacy] is.”

WSU graduate student Sarah Morton showed off a handmade sign she carried.

“My sign is two-sided,” Morton said, holding up the poster board written in marker. It read: “We can’t become a top 25 research university without diversity and inclusion.”

Morton said working toward a more diverse campus is key to achieving Schulz’s “Drive to 25” initiative to make WSU a leading research institution in the country by 2030.

“My second sign is basically saying that racism and hate should not be at WSU,” Morton said. “It should … be a non-issue, I don’t even understand why it is considered to be a political issue.  It seems like it should be a no-brainer.”

For march organizers, the protest was about more than speaking out against white supremacy.  It also served as a message to Schulz, who Daniels, Salem and Meyers said needs to take a more active role in decrying racism on campus.

RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen
Marchers file down Cougar Way Saturday at Pullman’s “March Against White Supremacy.”




Protesters also said they want greater action toward a more inclusive and welcoming environment for minority students.

“Hate speech should never be accepted, regardless of the guidelines,” Welch said.  “We all pay for our education and we all have a right to feel safe and comfortable on this campus.  For them to add fluff to the guidelines to make it acceptable is completely outrageous, and it’s not right.”

Morton said she wants to see concrete steps from Schulz in support of minority students.

“For instance, when they had the Muslim ban,” Morton said.  “He said ‘we are about inclusion at WSU,’ but then he advised people to stay in the US.  So, it put the burden on people who were from those countries.”

In a string of tweets posted Aug. 13, Schulz said “Universities are places where controversial voices must be heard — even those voices that many in our community disagree with.”

Salem, one of the student organizers, said that although college campuses play host to many controversial ideas, there is a difference between respectful disagreement and deliberately inflammatory speech.

“Controversial conversations are built on mutual respect,” Salem said, and civil conversations should exist without provocation, slurs, accusations, generalization and stereotyping — speech that he and Daniels believe Schulz has not adequately addressed.

“Kirk Schulz,” Daniels said in her speech Saturday, “your silence does not go unnoticed. We are putting you on notice.”

Professor David Leonard, a speaker at the march, said white allies must do more to speak out against racism.

“Each and every day we must ask ourselves, are we on the side of equity and justice?” Leonard said. “Hashtagged outrage about everyone else will not suffice.”