“President Loh has got to go!” students yelled from the steps of the University of Maryland administration building. Students marched from in front of McKeldin Library to the administration building with signs that said things like “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance #Justice4Jordan” and “The Way To Right Wrongs Is To Turn The Light Of Truth Upon Them”.
The rally, called “Justice for Jordan” was organized in honor of Jordan McNair, a 19-year-old football player for the University of Maryland that died over this past summer of heat stroke.
As a result of recent events, President Loh was forced into retirement and Coach DJ Durkin was fired after public backlash of the initial decision to keep him onboard. The Chairman of the University of Maryland Board of Regents, James T Brady resigned from his position after the initial decision to keep Durkin on as a coach. The University of Maryland also may lose their accreditation as a result of what’s been happening which could lead to loss of federal loan money for students as well as making it harder for them to find a job after college.
The “Justice for Jordan” rally was organized immediately after the initial decision to bring back Durkin. Hundreds of people RSVP’d that they were going and a lot of these people showed up, even though Durkin was fired before the rally took place. There were students, professors and TA’s at the rally. People of all ages, positions, and student groups on campus attended.
Wastena Endriasa, a sophomore undecided major said, “If people in power are allowing things like this to happen and people don’t stand up and show up to protests….it’s just going to keep going so I think it’s important to voice your opinion and voice your disgust.”
The rally started out as a way to protest what happened to Jordan McNair but other student groups started to co-opt the rally for their own causes. People talked about everything from the administration to boycotting to encouraging students to vote for Ben Jealous for governor. Not everyone was happy with the direction this rally took.
Neema Njoroge, a freshman business major said, “I definitely think that what happened here today wasn’t in our best interest. I think that we needed to stand together at this time. This rally was supposed to be for Jordan and I definitely think that a bunch of different groups turned it into their own agenda.”
Darius Williams, a senior information science major felt the same way. “We weren’t here for a boycott or a protest. I would love to hear more from his family…For that message that his life is important, that’s why we were here.”
Although the administration has removed a lot of upper-level officials, many University of Maryland students are still not happy with the state of their school or their athletic department. Many students at the rally called for a boycott of Saturday’s football game.
Featured Photo Credit: UMD students gather at a “Justice for Jordan” Rally on November 1st, 2018. (Sara Karlovitch/Bloc Reporter)
Lisa Woolfson is a junior journalism and government and politics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.