Wesley student protest || Joyrenzia Cheatham/The Whetstone

Wesley students protest at Legislative Hall || Joyrenzia Cheatham/The Whetstone

By Kristen Griffith, The Whetstone

Junior Luke Gegan slid small square pieces of papers under the doors of each dorm.

The paper, titled “College Walk-out Protest,” read, “Walk out of class and join us in a peaceful protest against the hateful and discriminatory rhetoric displayed in the recent Presidential campaign.”

Gegan said he organized the protest because he wants to see more unity.

“There’s so much diversion, that’s really a shame,” he said. “We need to step back and look at the bigger picture because doing something like this shows people coming together.”

About 60 students gathered last Wednesday in the South Plaza at 11 a.m. to march to Legislative Hall in downtown Dover.

Dover Police rode on their motorcycles blocking traffic and escorting students down State and Loockerman streets.

Senior Emily Bentz said she joined the protest because she doesn’t like the way her friends are being treated.

“This election has touched on a lot of stereotypes,” she said. “If you’re black, you have criminal instincts. If you’re white, you’re a racist. If you have any kind of Latin American heritage, you don’t deserve to be here. If you’re Muslim, you’re a threat.”

Students marched down the middle of the street raising their signs and chanting.

Signs said, “United against hate,” “Love Trumps hate,” and “F**k Trump, not my president.”

Junior Taylor Ellis said she joined the protest because she disagrees with President-elect Donald Trump.

“Everything he stands for isn’t what we need to progress the country,” she said.

Ellis said she liked the protest because it gets students involved and brings everyone closer together.

“We’re a really small school so helping everyone come together for this is a really good thing,” she said.

As students took a few laps around Legislative Green Park, a student’s speaker blared, “F**k Donald Trump,” a song by YG and Nipsey Hussle.

When the crowd started approaching a group of children, the song was cut off and students began chanting, “Wolverines against Hate.” A few children began chanting along with them.

Sarah Lynch holds a sign in protest against hate || Joyrenzia Cheatham/The Whetstone

Sarah Lynch holds a sign in protest against hate || Joyrenzia Cheatham/The Whetstone

After three laps around the park, students stood in front of Legislative Hall holding up their signs and chanting, including songs “Why can’t we be friends,” by War, and “Black or White,” by Michael Jackson.

Some students left class to be part of the movement while others, like Freshman Nick Conley, did not want to be part of it at all.

“I hope Delaware Police doesn’t shoot you first,” Conley typed on the picture of Gegan’s square piece of paper he posted on Snapchat.

When one of his followers asked about his post, he said the people involved in the protest are dumb.

“What is a protest walk in the state of Delaware at Wesley College going to do to change (the election results),” Conley, a white student, said with laughing emoticons.  “I’m not saying I’m for Trump by this, I’m saying it’s retarded to let a bunch of people, predominately black, go on a walk with police around. And if anyone in that walk steps out of line in the slightest, you can bet they won’t hesitate to a get a little trigger happy. No, sorry, I will not be joining a protest walk.”

Senior Kanita Stewart said the school bias is toward white students when it comes to civility.

“We have to watch what we say, what we do, and how we present things so the Caucasian students don’t feel a certain way, but they allow them to continuously do it to us,” she said.

Stewart said Wesley needs to end racial profiling because black students are always seen in a negative light.

“Why is it, to him and others, that we can’t be peaceful about making our voices heard,” she said.

Stewart said she was offended by Conley’s post because he seemed to be joking about police brutality.

“We feel offended and unsafe walking around campus with someone who feels that way,” she said.

Senior Evan Le’Mon, BSU president, said he was also offended by Conley’s post.

“If you’re making a joke about police possibly shooting black protesters for the purpose of getting laughs on Snapchat, then where is the humanity in that?” Le’Mon asked. “Where’s your empathy? Where’s your compassion? Where is your value for human life?”

A few members of BSU scheduled a meeting with Student Affairs to discuss Conley’s post.

“We expressed that action needed to be taken because the post could be deemed threatening,” BSU member Moni Olowere said. “Anyone could have seen that, taken it the wrong way and acted negatively.”

Olowere said they told Student Affairs that Conley should be educated more.

“He can’t just say our lives will be put in danger due to a peaceful protest,” she said. “We feel he portrayed the African American community in a very poor light.”

Le’Mon said he wonders how the school is going to educate students on civility.

The school held a civility summit with student leaders and faculty Sept. 11. The goal was to educate Wesley about civility and to keep it an on-going conversation.

“Since the civility summit in September, I haven’t seen any program or seminars geared towards civility,” he said.

Conley was not the only one who opposed the protest.

Senior Kevin Johnson said students should take advantage of the protests relevant to Wesley College.

“This protest held no weight in the grand scheme of things, and if protests happen here at Wesley, it should be against the injustices of Wesley,” he said.