Black student activists led around 250 students, faculty and community members in a demonstration on Red Square tonight to express solidarity with students of color experiencing racism in universities domestically and internationally. The group announced a list of demands directed to university administration, addressing racial injustice at Georgetown.
The activists will stage sit-ins and protests outside the office of University President John J. DeGioia every day until midnight each night, beginning at 9 a.m. tomorrow, until the demands are met.
The demands include changing the name of Mulledy Hall and the McSherry Building, which houses the meditation center. The name retention of Mulledy Hall sparked ire earlier this year, calling attention to the actions of former University President Fr. Thomas Mulledy, S.J., who authorized the sale of 272 slaves to a Louisiana plantation in 1838. McSherry Hall is named after William McSherry, who served as Mulledy’s lawyer during the sale.
The demonstration was ignited by ongoing racial tensions at the University of Missouri, Yale University and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, which has culminated in protests, strikes and resignations of university administrators over the past month.
Activists also called for increased memorialization of slaveholding history at Georgetown through an annual program honoring enslaved people and revising university tours to include information on the building’s histories. The demands, announced at the demonstration and passed out on leaflets, included the creation of an endowment for recruiting black professors — equivalent to the net present value of the profit from the 1838 sale, and mandatory training on diversity issues for professors.
In addition to presenting the demands, the organizers shared their personal stories of racial injustice at Georgetown and invited attendees to share their experiences as students of color.
This article has been updated. A full story will appear in Friday’ s issue, and online at features.thehoya.com.
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