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Students gather at Hale Hall to stand against racism

Anya Ursu / Lantern reporter

Ohio State, a university that embraces diversity, is no place for vandalism and hate crimes, some members of the university community said.

“Long Live Zimmerman” was spray-painted early Thursday on the west walls of Hale Hall, which is home to the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, part of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The reference, officials said, is most likely to George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader who allegedly killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense Feb. 26 in Florida.

In the wake of the Hale Hall vandalism, the Black Student Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People collaborated to host “Ohio State: No place for hate,” Thursday evening.

The goal was to address the concerns of civil unrest not only on campus regarding Thursday morning’s incident, but around the world, according to BSA.

The event included speakers from the Department of African-American and African Studies and opportunities for students to voice their opinions about the hate crime.

“I am happy with the number of people who came to the event. It’s important because we have to bring to light the severity of the situation,” said Johnnie Jordan, vice president of the NAACP at OSU.

Hasan Jeffries, associate professor of history at OSU, encouraged students of color to stand together as the community moves forward from Thursday’s act of racism.

“We need to be promoting a culture of students who thrive in their environment here at Ohio State,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries specializes in 20th century African-American history and has an expertise in the Civil Rights and black power movements.

With people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the main room at the Hale Center, students didn’t hesitate to voice their opinion on the turnout.

“It would be more supportive to the cause if more people were here. Even though it was a good turnout, the problem is that people think this is a black-only issue. It would have been nice to see more people,” said Gabriella Cajuste, a fourth-year in early childhood education.

BSA encourages students of color to be proactive instead of reactive to incidents of hate crime.

Ramsey Hidmi, director of diversity at OSU, and members of Undergraduate Student Government, including USG president Nick Messenger attended the event.

“We stand in solidarity with the students, the eyes of the nation are upon us and we must be proactive,” said Leslie Alexander, associate professor of history.

The program began at about 7 p.m. and continued after 9 p.m.

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