Black students at University of Nebraska–Lincoln organized an anti-racial protest today after a social campaign received racially-motivated threats, instead of creating unity.
The students who created #NotAtUNL say did not expect for it to become popular, but they also did not expect to receive disparaging racial comments, such as being called an animal to the N-word to being told to jump to their deaths.
“It’s just not acceptable, it’s not cool,” says Antoinette Herbert, a UNL student.
People were saying jokes like I’m going to drink a Trayvon Martin-i, says Maya Evans, a student organizer.
Chancellor Harvey Perlman encouraged students, faculty and staff to attend the rally via email, which had hundreds of people gathered north of the Student Union building.
“To see all these people are out here to support Lincoln is just amazing. It makes me feel like I do belong here just like everybody else,” says Herbert.
With racial incidents happening at University of Missouri and Yale, the university’s support was visibly appreciated.
“It’s actually nice to know somebody is looking out for us and that we’re not alone on this campus,” says Angel Sumpter.
During the rally, students called for the university to offer a race relation course for incoming freshmen to prompt racial dialogue.
“[These] classes are important,” says Young. “Some people genuinely don’t know. We have people coming from all over. So teaching them about what’s going on is really probably going to help.”
Vice President Chancellor Juan Franco says the university would be opened to that idea.
“I think we need to look at a comprehensive program which could include those things. What we like to do is visit with the students further,” says Franco. “ There are those things and probably other things we should be doing,” says Franco.
Most of the racial tension is seen online, according to black students.
No reports of racially motivated crimes or threats had been filed with campus police.
However, students say they will continue to host similar events until everyone feels welcomed at the university.
“I’m glad that we’re bringing awareness to UNL about the racial situations that have been going on,” says Herbert.