Classes at Kansas State University will be suspended for two hours Tuesday to allow students, faculty and staff and members of the Manhattan community to participate in a unity walk and assembly in response to a series of racially charged incidents on campus.
President Richard Myers said the walk from coordinated starting points across campus would start at 1 p.m. and serve to introduce KSUnite, a communitywide program designed to declare “who we are, what we value and what we stand for.”
He is scheduled to share a “message of unity” at the gathering from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. on the Anderson Hall lawn.
In the past week, a 21-year-old black student at Kansas State confessed to law enforcement officers to having defaced his own car with racist graffiti and slurs, including “whites only” and “go home,” in what was described as an out-of-control Halloween prank. No charges were filed against the student.
In October, a Jewish ceremonial tent was destroyed. Initially, it was investigated as anti-Semitic vandalism. Authorities concluded the tent was damaged during inclement weather.
University officials removed in October an anti-gay slur left outside the student union. White-supremacist fliers were displayed at the university in September and a noose was found hanging from a campus tree in May.
The unity gathering next week outside Kansas State’s central administration building is to be hosted by Jack Ayres, the student body president, and Darrell Reese, president of the Black Student Union.
“This is a great opportunity for the university and the community to come together as we move forward to create a more inclusive and equitable campus,” Ayres said in a statement.