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University of Lynchburg students hold walkout to protest Mexican-themed party

Prompted by fellow students wearing racist costumes at Mexican-themed party

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Hundreds of University of Lynchburg students have said ‘enough is enough’ after their peers threw a fiesta-themed party and dressed in costumes depicting offensive Mexican stereotypes.

Students walked out of class today and are now calling out school administrators.

With signs in hand, students showed up in numbers on Wednesday to make their message clear.

The students and some faculty members walked out to push culture appreciation, not appropriation.

“You can love my culture. You can love my food, but you cannot disrespect my people,” a University of Lynchburg student said.

This comes after photos were posted on social media Friday night during an on-campus party.

You can see some students wearing costumes depicting what some say are offensive Mexican stereotypes.

“It hurts me because I see it representative from the people of Mexico and my family,” said another student.

Some students were brought to tears as others shared their on-campus discrimination and experiences with racism and sexism.

“All those people who push me off the sidewalk, I forgive you, you’re forgiven,” a female student said.

School officials said they met Tuesday night for almost two hours with some of the walkout organizers and the classmates who played a part in the fiesta-themed party.

"It was a productive conversation. At least it was a starting point, where people were moving together, where both sides were heard, and understanding started to take place,” said Aaron Smith, vice president and dean of students.

On Wednesday, students pushing for change read off their list of demands, which include hiring diverse faculty and making diversity and inclusion training mandatory for all students.

"I think after today, I think that we need to figure out a way that it's absolutely mandatory so everybody that's on campus, gets it,” Smith said.

The students ended the walkout with everyone holding hands while pledging to be a more inclusive campus.

School leaders said they’ll meet Thursday morning to find ways to meet the student’s list of demands.


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