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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Students Rally To Support Mizzou

The Black Student Assembly at USC rallied to support students at Mizzou and object to lack of diversity on campus. USC Administration responded with an open forum to address their concerns.

Students gathered at Tommy Trojan on Thursday to stand in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri. They dressed in all black to protest a lack of diversity on campus.

“I’m here because threatening to kill every black person in sight is not bullying, it’s terrorism,” one student cried during the time in the rally when students shared testimonials. 

The Black Student Assembly (BSA) wrote a letter to the USC Administration with demands, including more resources at the LBGD and Disability resource centers.

MyKaila Williams, executive director of the BSA, said “student activism is important because, if we don’t speak up, who will? When things started to fire up in Mizzou, it was really just yet another consequence of systematic injustices happening everywhere.”

We talked with Shernae Hughes, a sophomore at USC, who says she has experienced those injustices firsthand at USC. 

“The first person that talked to me was like, ‘what sport do you play?’ The only way that I can get into an institution as prestigious as this one is if I dribbled a ball,” she said.

Black students comprise only about seven percent of the student body at Mizzou. At USC that number’s even lower—only fice percent. 

Other students across the nation are using Mizzou’s student activism to address issues on their own campuses. Taylor Lemmons is a junior at Claremont McKenna college. She went on a hunger strike.

“Everything that’s happening in Missouri, everything that’s happening at Yale, it’s a domino effect. When people see that changes are occurring because of student activism, it definitely is inspiring,” she said.  

And changes are happening. Eleven hours after Taylor began her strike, the Claremont McKenna Dean of Students stepped down. The complaint? She didn’t respond to racist incidents on campus. USC students are hoping change will happen here, too. 

Gabriel Armsted, a USC graduate student, was clad in all black standing under the hot L.A. sun during the rally. “It’s effective if you have a lot of students behind it, because these students can go find other students and then they can start spreading the word about the issue,” he said.

The BSA did secure a meeting with the Provost's office, during which student leaders called for cultural centers to be added to University Village. The Vice President of Student Affairs, Ainsley Carry, agreed with students that there needs to be a change on campus, but said he couldn't commit to a precise location for a new facility. 

We talked to the USG Director for Diversity Affairs, Moira Turner, who said the meeting was a step in the right direction, but there is more that needs to be done. 

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