Hopkins students speak on racial issues at Homewood campus

Hopkins students protest racism, including on Homewood campus.

More than 100 Johns Hopkins University students staged a protest over racial issues Friday, presenting President Ronald J. Daniels with a list of demands that included hiring more African-American faculty.

The protest, organized by the university's black student union, disrupted filming of a video with Daniels on a Homewood campus quadrangle, according to university spokesman Dennis O'Shea. Protesters voiced support for student protests this week at the University of Missouri, but also expressed frustration with what they say is a lack of diversity, and with insensitivity to racial problems.

"It happens at Mizzou! It happens here, too!" protesters chanted, according to O'Shea.

Daniels listened to the group for about 20 minutes and spoke with them for another 10 minutes, O'Shea said. The president said he was working on hiring more minority faculty and readily agreed to another of the protesters' demands – scheduling a campuswide forum for Nov. 30 to explore their concerns.

Afterward, Daniels sent a letter to students, faculty and staff acknowledging "we wrestle with a complex racial legacy" at Hopkins, while outlining actions already taken and others under consideration to "strengthen the climate and culture" at the university. He noted that this year's entering class was the private school's most diverse, with 23 percent from underrepresented minorities.

Hopkins students participated in demonstrations in the spring following the death of Freddie Gray, but O'Shea said this was the first campus protest focused on university issues.

Tim.wheeler@baltsun.com

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