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Black students at University of Michigan block streets, protest name of campus building

(Melanie Maxwell/The Ann Arbor News via AP)

Racial tension is rising at the University of Michigan, as a vast assembly of African-American student have took to the streets in protest against alleged racism on their campus.

Protesters have shut down traffic on campus roads to the point where buses in the area had to be rerouted. Some of the organizers explain that their demonstrations are meant to garner awareness towards the frustrations that come along with being a part of a minority demographic on campus.

Students attending the protest brought signs, some of which read, “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” “STOP EXCUSING RACISM,” “STOP BEING RACIST,” “SILENCE IS VIOLENCE,” “WE’LL KEEP COMING BACK TIL WE’RE HEARD,” and “THE 4%” (which is a reference to the approximately 4 percent of black students who attend the University of Michigan).

The students are also protesting the C.C. Little Science Building due to its name. The building was named after C.C. Little, a former president of the University of Michigan serving from 1925 to 1929. Little was a eugenicist, who served on the board of the American Eugenics Society. According to the university, he also supported immigration restriction. UM’s student government has demanded that Little’s name be removed from the building, which has been present since 1968.

UM’s Student Government College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) sent a resolution on September 20th to rename the controversial building. Nicholas Fadanelli, President of the LSA Student Government, spoke on his concerns with the building name.

“It is one thing to remember our history – both its dark moments and its finer ones – and a completely separate notion to put on top of a pedestal those whose actions and views not only go against the fabric of the values the university community holds dear, but actively undermined the positions of authority they were entrusted with,” Fadanelli said.

Adding to the racial tumult present on the Ann Arbor campus, a UM graduate student promulgated the now widely popular take a knee protests popular with NFL players. Dana Greene Jr., a master’s candidate at the UM School of Public Health, took a knee on the UM campus for virtually the entire day.

“If I got to kneel until I bleed, then that’s what I’m gonna do,” Greene expressed.

The UM student purportedly kneeled for more than 20 hours in disagreement with both the University as well as the President.

“Trump has made it harder for people who look like me and people who don’t look like me to walk this campus, to feel comfortable in our own skin,” Greene, the 20-hour-kneeler, explained.

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