Yale students plan forum on university race issues

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2015 4:19 PM

By Richard Weizel

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Reuters) - Students at Yale University on Wednesday plan a campus forum on race and diversity issues at the elite Ivy League school, amid a wave of demonstrations at U.S. colleges over the treatment of minority students.

The forum, to be held at the school's African American Cultural Center, comes two days after about 1,000 students briefly shut traffic around the university in a rally to protest an alleged Halloween incident in which a fraternity turned away black guests from a party.

It also follows Monday's resignation by University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe amid student complaints that the school did not take allegations of racial abuse on campus seriously. Small-scale protests and walkouts in sympathy with the Missouri students have also taken place at universities across the United States this week.

The protests build on the "Black Lives Matter" movement, which was involved in massive and sometimes violent demonstrations in cities including Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore over police killings of black men. This week's university protests have largely been peaceful affairs, though police in Missouri on Wednesday arrested a white man on suspected of making threats online to shoot black people at the school.

"We want to keep the discussion going tonight and give students a chance to express their feelings," said Nicole Tinson, a black graduate student at Yale who is helping arrange the Wednesday forum.

Elisia Ceballo-Countryman, a sophomore, board member of the Black Student Alliance and one of the organizers of Monday's rally, said, "There has been a lot of insensitivity and an ignoring of the diversity that exists on this campus, and that has to change."

Yale University President Peter Salovey, who met with student leaders during Monday's rally, said he wants to take action to end racial tensions at the Connecticut school.

"We heard deeply personal accounts from a number of students who are in great distress," Salovey said in a statement. "This conversation left me deeply troubled, and has caused me to realize that we must act to create at Yale greater inclusion, healing, mutual respect, and understanding."

(Editing by Scott Malone; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)