Oswego State students participated in a peaceful protest response to recent court decisions in Ferguson, Mo. and Staten Island on incidents where police officers killed unarmed black Americans.
Student participants gathered in the Hart Hall circle where they then marched across campus, coming back to the Marano Campus Center, where they conducted a die-in protest session in front of the Campus Center Ice Arena.
Last week, a grand jury decided not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson, who allegedly shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown last August. In another case, a New York City Police Department officer used a choke hold to subdue Eric Garner during an arrest, killing him in the process. Protests from the nation’s black community have sparked across the nation in the last few days.
Student Zachary Diamond was one of the participants who laid on the ground during the dead-in at Oswego State.
“Our generation is not very good at noticing social issues,” Diamond said. “We have more distractions than any other generation before us. It’s really easy to say ‘oh I don’t have time for that’ and I don’t want to be someone who is standing on the sidelines. I want to be someone to get involved and be part of something I believe in.”
“I personally came here because I don’t want to be included in that arrogant, ignorant group of people that doesn’t know what’s happening and not commenting on what’s going on,” said freshman Tenzin Tseyang.
Jerri Drummond, the associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Oswego State, was present at the protest and remarked that she was proud of the students who organized the event and those who took part.
“I think they’ve presented themselves in a very professional and peaceful way to shed light on an issue that’s very important to them, their peers and the country,” Drummond said.
Junior Christopher Collins-McNeil, a political science student and director of civic engagement for the Student Association, took part, along with the Black Student Union and other club representatives, in organizing the student protests.
“College campuses, this is where this stuff needs to be happening and it’s going to continue to happen,” Collins-McNeil said. “It must. These conversations must be had, these things need to be challenged.”
Collins-McNeil said he was glad the protest came together with little time to prepare for it. He said it was addressed last Wednesday about the possibility of having a protest, and the various clubs put one together in about 36 hours.
“There are so many serious issues in our community, on this campus and in our lives that need to be discussed and we are the ones that have to take charge of that,” Collins-McNeil said.