On Saturday, Soka welcomed prospective students and their families onto campus for the annual Lions Roar event, where high school seniors can learn about what the university has to offer.
But things did not go according to plan – a group of about 40 current students organized a protest of the university’s treatment of black students and the response of administration toward student demands for African and Ethnic Studies classes.
The protesting students, lead by the leadership of Black Student Union (BSU) and the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC), distributed pamphlets explaining their problems with the university and their demands for change.
“Our black and brown bodies have been used for nothing more than tokens to be shown how ‘diverse’ SUA is,” the statement by Black Student Union printed on the front of the pamphlet read. “We are not represented in the classroom, curriculum, faculty, nor administration. All of this is to say: We are not meant to be apart of the very culture at SUA.”
Students also designed posters and stood silently while prospective students and their families ate lunch, visited the bookstore, and toured campus. Poster slogans ranged from “African and Ethnic Studies Now” to “I am a current student and I am disappointed in my school” to “Black Lives Matter.”
Staff from admissions acknowledged the student protest and told the crowd at lunch students were working through issues on campus.
The goal, the organizers said, is both to demonstrate the seriousness of the students about their demands (outlined in the manifesto written by SOCC and BSU) as well as to inform students about the feelings of the students on campus.
“We as the Black Student Union and Student of Color Coalition believe it to be our utmost obligation to reveal the true nature of SUA before you make your decision to attend this institution,” the statement said.
Disclosure: Pearl staff participated in the protest.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.