BSU holds peaceful takeover rally at Morgan Hall


photo by Larissa Morgan

Amari McGlory, president of BSU and senior in social work, leads the peaceful takeover protest. The protest was held in Morgan Hall.

The Washburn Black Student Union held a peaceful takeover rally in Morgan Hall Tuesday, Nov. 29, to highlight inaction by university administration regarding racism experienced on campus.

Members of BSU spoke about several situations, like unanswered requests for change from 2019 and not having their own space on campus, which they say make them want to attend school elsewhere.

“I just want everybody to understand the situation that’s going on. Washburn is really known for hiding things,” said Janice Coates, a senior in social work. “I want to be here and support everyone so they can get their stories out.”

Speakers at the rally noted it has been 30 days since an incident occurred at a department party with no repercussions publicly stated. Holly O’Neil, associate professor of chemistry and interim assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Washburn University, was seen performing a dance dressed as Michael Jackson with dark makeup covering her face.

“It’s not just about that. Absolutely nothing has been done to protect these Black students since 2019,” said Courtland Davis of the YWCA Northeast Kansas. “[Washburn] takes their money, their athleticism and their minds and gives nothing in return.”

There have also been instances of racial slurs being used on campus and inside the classroom by two instructors, speakers said. An instructor is also said to have used rap music in the classroom to “appeal to Black” students, and another has asked a student to examine the course curriculum for material that was inappropriate.

Two alumni spoke to the crowd and said they experienced racism at Washburn and that they are surprised that current students still encounter racism at Washburn.

During one speaker’s call for a required diversity course credit to graduate from Washburn, a professor from Washburn’s School of Nursing asked if the speaker had presented this to the Board of Regents. The professor, with her class, left the rally immediately after the question was answered, and the following speaker described the professor’s brief attendance as symbolic.

BSU called for an update on O’Neil’s situation by Friday.

Edited by Glorianna Noland, Justin Shepard