News

Students Lead Protest During Wellness Day

By Sabrina Betterly
News Editor

During the March 10 Student Wellness Day, students from the nonaffiliated KU group KU Activists (KUA) arranged an hour-long protest in response to KU’s lack of action against the KU Public Safety Department (KUPSD). 

Students began the protest in front of South Dining Hall before marching over to the front of the Stratton Administration building, chanting and holding up signs for all to see. 

Group photo of students at protest in front of Stratton Administration. Credit: Lena Hamm

Students made their own signs which said, “Do better KU,” “Not my KU” and “Bias outside the workplace equals bias inside the workplace.” 

They also chanted during the protest, calling out, “Get them out” and “Chief racist has got to go.”

Several weeks ago, KUA brought to light their concerns about Alan Swartz, an officer from the KUPSD who had posted and shared allegedly racist and islamaphobic content on his personal Facebook while also representing KUPSD on his profile. 

KUA had also posted many anonymous confessions from students who had problematic experiences with the KUPSD. 

On Feb. 8, KUA reached out for a meeting with President Hawkinson, Dean McCargo and KUPSD Chief John Dillon to publicly address the lack of action against the KUPSD and Swartz. 

Student with microphone among other students in protest. Credit: Lena Hamm

Hawkinson declined the meeting, and KUA posted about it on their Instagram page, addressing this as well as Hawkinson’s email that was sent out on Feb. 10 to students saying, “We hold our university employees to the highest standards. We expect the behavior of our employees to reflect the high standards established by the university.” 

KUA asked in the caption of that post, “…if you truly cared about the safety of your students, and rejected what this officer posted on his social media, why don’t you listen to our voices?”

After this, KUA began arranging the March 10 protest.

When asked what the goal of this protest was, a member of KUA, Deena Stoudt, said “To hold the KUPD accountable as well as the university, more specifically Hawkinson, for the lack of consideration for student safety.”

KUA and members of the KU community have made their concerns clear, and now the KU community will await a response from Hawkinson.

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