With the student body buzzing about the sudden midday protests, Nyumburu’s student ambassadors organized an emergency town hall meeting where participants decided that on Tuesday, Nov. 25 from noon to 2 p.m., protesters, wearing all black, will boycott eating at Stamp.
Protesters will stand in line and sit at tables, but they will not eat Stamp’s food.
This boycott will continue until the demands from today’s earlier protests are heard along with an official school acknowledgement of solidarity with the Ferguson protesters and a condemnation of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown earlier this year.
The organization of tomorrow’s boycott follows the series of protests that cut through the campus around noon today, which spanned from Stamp Student Union, onto the Mall and eventually to the Administration building.
About 50 students from various coalitions joined together to bring attention to their demands, which they delivered to University of Maryland’s administration. President Loh was reportedly not present.
Earlier this evening, about 60 students, including representatives of BSU, NAACP, and Latino and Asian organizations were present at the emergency town hall meeting, expressing their desire for widespread minority cooperation to incite change in racial profiling and basic human rights.
Throughout the meeting, students expressed their frustrations with the sudden militarization of campus police. The university’s police department is participating with the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, which provided campus law enforcement with a $65,000 armored truck, 16 12-gauge shotguns, 49 M16 rifles and two transport vehicles.
“I had no clue about it until right before the protest,” Opeyemi Owoeye, a junior government politics major and town hall organizer, said.
Many other students are still completely in the dark about the increase in the university’s military-grade arms.
This lack of transparency is especially frightening for minority students, who already feel that they are being racially profiled, various students in attendance of the town meeting said.
Among those present at the meeting was campus Chief of Police David Mitchell, who answered student questions, although some of his answers seemed to further unsettle the attendees.
In terms of the militarization of campus police, Chief Mitchell explained that the presence of a nuclear reactor on campus required that there be militaristic weapons for security. But current security measures have already “exceeded the standard required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a research reactor of this size.”
So why are two historically black universities and the University of Maryland suddenly getting these militaristic weapons?
“There should be no reason why anyone should have military style weapons.” said town hall organizer and senior African-American studies major Aziz Sani.
Many students fear that the increased weaponry is a result of the tensions behind the Brown case in Ferguson, stating that it bears resemblance to the National Guard being sent to Ferguson to quell protesters.
The verdict was released earlier tonight: Wilson was not indicted.
Tomorrow, students will be protesting both the increased militarization of campus police and the treatment of the shooting of the unarmed teenager.
Senior education major Cathryn Paul hopes the message will be effectively translated.
“I think we’re boycotting because we all want be treated like humans,” Paul said. “People might say we’re boycotting because of the death of Mike Brown, they might say that we’re protesting because of police brutality all over Maryland, P.G. county, and the United States. I think that what it comes down to is that at some point, everyone who is in this room and who is protesting is protesting because someone, a friend of ours, or ourselves, are not being treated like human beings, and think everybody understands that.”
Hanna Greenblott is a sophomore English language and literature major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.