WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University students, faculty and staff
upset by the recent discovery of the words "white supremacy" written on a
mirror inside the campus' Black Cultural Center turned their grievances
into a protest march that ended outside the school's main administration
A mix of more than 200 black, white, Asian and Hispanic men and women
marched Monday afternoon past the West Lafayette campus Memorial Hall to
the steps of Hovde Hall, which houses the offices of Purdue's top
The Journal & Courier reported that the protest started quietly before the
group erupted with energetic chants, shouting "This is what diversity
looks like!" ''The people are the power!" and other slogans.
The protesters are upset by an incident last Friday in which the words
"white supremacy" were found written on a mirror inside the Black Cultural
Purdue's University News Service said in a statement released Monday,
howerver, that Friday's incident was not an act of vandalism but was an
unintentional transfer of words from a sticky note during an educational
Nonetheless, organizers of Monday's protest said the incident, whether
intentional or not — follows after a series of race-related incidents on
FBI statistics rank Purdue second in the nation among public and private
universities for the number of reported hate crimes. Those rankings are
not objective, however, because reporting of hate crimes by universities
During Monday's protest, members of the group shouted a list of demands
compiled by Purdue's Anti-Racism Coalition.
Among them was a request that university President Mitch Daniels should
"articulate a zero-tolerance stance against all racist acts." In addition,
they called out for a doubling of the number of minority faculty and
students over the next 10 years and requiring an undergraduate course on
race and racism.
"All diversity means is difference, unlikeness," said Christopher Warren,
who instructs courses on African-American studies and sociology at Purdue,
during the protest. "Who cares about diversity when there is no equality?"
Provost Tim Sands watched the demonstration from the sidelines and walked
up to the first step of Hovde Hall and addressed the gathering when his
name when the crowd called his name.
"We are not an inclusive environment," said Sands. "We have not figured
that out yet ... I'm really excited to see this momentum building. I'm
sorry it's based on the fact that Purdue is not yet a psychologically safe
place to study for many people. It is for some but not for everyone."
Daniels, who did not attend because he was in Washington, D.C., at a
conference, released a statement apologizing for being out-of-state and
unable to attend.
His statement said the incident at Purdue Black Cultural Center "presents
an opportunity to reaffirm our common commitment to a Purdue environment
that is completely respectful of all and not accepting of behavior that
falls short of that standard."