Head of Maryland college agrees to address black protesters' demands

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 19, 2015 11:29 AM

(Reuters) - The head of Maryland's Towson University agreed early on Thursday to address demands brought by black students who occupied his office, a school spokeswoman said.

Interim President Timothy Chandler reviewed the demands brought by 40 to 50 students for about nine hours before he signed and committed to working toward the goals, spokeswoman Gay Pinder said.

"It was completely nonviolent, and a very productive and mutually enlightening discussion," she said. The sit-in ended around 1 a.m.

The 13-item list includes increasing the number of black faculty on a tenure track, require faculty and staff to take cultural competency courses and a no-tolerance policy on racial, sexual and homophobic epithets.

Pinder said that 4 percent of Towson's tenure-track faculty is black.

The move at the public university near Baltimore comes as U.S. universities are roiled by student protests over alleged racial bias. The president of the University of Missouri resigned last week amid student complaints that the school did not take allegations of racial abuse on campus seriously.

Towson has about 19,000 undergraduate students, 17 percent of them black, according to the CollegeData higher education website.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)