November 14, 2015

Protest Cancelled Over Concerns From Black Students United

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A protest to show solidarity with the students of University of Missouri, Yale University and Ithaca College was canceled Thursday due to concerns voiced by Black Students United and other students in the Cornell community.

Across the nation, thousands of students took part in walkouts and rallies on college campuses Thursday in a show of solidarity with protesters at the University of Missouri, Yale University and other colleges racially embroiled.

Protest organizer William Heisenberg ’15 said he decided to organize a protest to take place Friday to show solidarity after seeing demonstrations at other universities.

“I heard about the protests in Ithaca and Missouri, and then saw many students at Cornell showing solidarity,” Heisenberg said. “I now realize I should have first checked to see if anyone else was organizing a protest, but I hadn’t heard anything about one yet, so I thought maybe I can get this ball rolling.”

A couple hours after the Facebook event page for a “#ConcernedStudent2015 protest” was created, many students began to post on the page with concerns. Soon after, Black Students United posted on the event page, pointing out the lack of people of color in the planning and attendance of the event and requesting its cancellation.

“While we appreciate the solidarity and interest of our allies across campus, we would like to be able to address prejudice on this campus and campuses like it in our own way,” the post read. “In the future, please ask how you can support us before organizing on your own. With that in mind, we would appreciate the cancellation of this event.”

Heisenberg said he immediately decided to cancel the event after seeing the post.

“I didn’t check the event until a couple hours after I posted it, and when I did go back to it I saw that lots of people were criticizing it … a lot of people had commented, saying ‘this was inappropriate, he isn’t doing this the right way,’” Heisenberg said.

While commenters said they believed he was starting the event insincerely, Heisenberg said that his intentions of letting other voices be heard were sincere.

“I didn’t expect people to think that I was mocking them. I certainly didn’t want that to be the result,” Heisenberg said. “I was startled by people’s reactions, and I was hurt by the fact that I might have hurt other people … Other people should have their voices heard, and I don’t want to crowd them out or block them in any way.”

While Black Students United declined The Sun’s request for comment, Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A) de Cornell posted a statement of solidarity with Black Students United.

“Racism destroys because it is backed by power, policy and action. As students of color, directly affected by racial discrimination, the power to dictate how change must come about is ours,” the statement reads. “The #ConcernedStudent2015 protest organized by Heisenberg disregards this notion, and instead perpetuates a white savior complex, placing the power to decide change in the hands of those not living our realities. In order for change to benefit the most oppressed students, our voices must be taken into account and must be at the forefront of these movements.”


  • AnnoyedStudent2015

    This kid is so annoying. He posts on a daily basis on all of the class facebook pages advertising his lowbrow blog and comedy routine. I can’t wait for him to graduate. News flash: his name isn’t even Heisenberg.

  • Jim

    He just wants attention and all this is doing is giving it to him. The fact that it was called “#ConcernedStudent2015” shows it was a joke (the hashtag).

    • Perhaps this guy needs to get some T-Shirts printed up with his organization, name & picture on them?

      Profits could go to the Michael Schwerner Memorial Fund….if he even knows of Mike’s sacrifice.

  • George

    Black students protest over lack of inclusiveness and then exclude everyone who is not black.

  • Pingback: Protest organized by white guy scrapped after black group complains about not being consulted - The College Fix()

  • Batista

    So it is only acceptable to those approved by Black Students United to stop alleged racism? Are non-black students harmed by racism then precluded from taking action. Maybe the hundreds of thousands of white men who died to free the slaves in the U.S. should have stayed home. Good friends of mine were a couple where one happened to be white and the other black. When with them the only racial comments I ever heard cam from people who happened to by black. I have seen people who happened to be black harass Asian students. Black people are racist too folks. The Group Called Black Students United does not seem to be the best qualified persons to deal with resolving these matters.

    • Chris

      Thank you!!!! – a black man

  • Mark

    Let me see if I understand this. Students of color have at times complained about whites being apathetic about systemic racism.

    When a white person takes the initiative to organize a protest, he’s not allowed to because it had not been per-approved by some students of color.

    So it’s OK to protest in support of black students provided they are leading the protest. But if there’s no protest planned, then you’re being apathetic for not protesting…..

    • Chris

      It’s an oxymoron and as a black man it’s really digesting to hear they a black Union would say suck bullshit to this man. I don’t think the even would have been that bad as to say that he would be portrayed as a white savior. Maybe the hashtag was a bit selfish but I don’t think they should have completely shunned him down at first.