ITHACA, NY – As Ithaca College students, faculty and staff plan a walk out protest to call for President Tom Rochon’s resignation, eyes from across the country are focusing in on the story.
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Three national news outlets have run stories referencing the ongoing situation at Ithaca College, particularly as it relates to racial issues on campuses across the country.
This comes in the wake of the resignation of University of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe, who was effectively forced to step down after becoming the target of protests due a series of racial incidents on that campus.
Here are a few of the national stories focusing on the event:
CNN asks, “Do U.S. College have a race problem?”
The Washington Post references IC as a potential “battleground”: “Protest shows colleges are once again becoming civil rights battlegrounds”
USA Today writes about how the “U. of Missouri protests spark call for Ithaca College student walk out”
The Huffington Post also makes the Missouri connection, predicting “Mizzou Inspired Protests coming at other colleges”
Today’s protest comes after over a month of mounting criticisms over Rochon’s handling of a few key racial incidents on campus. Those events and the subsequent responses from the administration which were perceived as ineffective or not genuine, snowballed into a call for a vote of “no confidence,” first from the student government and then from IC faculty.
While racial incidents served as the flashpoint, criticisms of President Rochon have ballooned to cover a number of other issues. Among the grievances listed by members of the student government about Rochon are
— “Unstable” leadership within the college’s administration
— Claims of student exclusion from the college’s development plans
— Alleged racism, discrimination and lack of diversity at the college
A group of student activists, “POC at IC,” has been at the forefront of vocalizing much of the dissent with Rochon. The group has helped organize a series of protests on campus, including today’s, with speakers at the events demanding “tangible action” from the Rochon administration, according to The Ithacan.
While students have been the vanguard for this movement, IC faculty appear to be heavily in support. According to the Ithacan, Faculty Council has approved a vote of “no confidence” against Rochon. This came after faculty at three of IC’s five schools voted to recommend the Faculty Council hold a vote. One school voted against and one abstained.
Today’s event is expected to draw approximately 1,000 people, including students, alumni, faculty and staff.
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