Saginaw Valley State University students marched around campus on Thursday to demand accountability by the administration.
The protest was a response to an incident last week where a demonstrator spoke to a group on campus. Students say the individual threatened the health and safety of others.
“We pay thousands of dollars to be here, at a place where we should feel protected and safe. So I didn’t feel it was right to let someone come in and discriminate and use hurtful words to hurt the students here,” said Evangeline Cruz, sophomore at SVSU.
Among other demands, students want an explanation as to why no one intervened last week and mandatory microaggression and bias training for students.
They feel the university did not protect them.
“I was immediately feeling disrespected and ignored because in the moment, that’s when we needed his, that’s when we needed the university’s support,” said Cherokee Johnson, organizer of Thursday’s march.
In response, the university said it appreciated students expressing their beliefs and using their voices.
“As a university, we believe in the free expression of ideas and we want those ideas to be expressed in a respectful and civil manner,” said J.J. Boehm, spokesperson for SVSU.
Students saw last week’s incident as indicative of a larger issue than free speech. They want justice and ask, if not now, when.