March on Sikes- UPDATE

(Students pictured: Ian Bateman; Edith Dunlap; Riley Fontenot; Bre Ryans; Destinee Wilson. Some names recovered from Greenville Online.)

January 7th was cold. Very cold- yet students, faculty, and staff gathered at the foot of10926206_321964711340355_7869792888039312900_n Death Valley, determined to deliver their message to Clemson University.

WSPA reports that around 80 students showed for the march, some of them huddled together to escape the cold. As 11:30 neared, a prayer session was held. Students removed their hats, bowed their heads, and stood in silence before beginning the march:

Clemson student Riley Fontenot led marchers through several chants as they moved across campus: “I can’t breathe”. “Black lives matter”. “Stop police brutality”.

IMG_6513The wind was biting- it got in your lungs. As the group was chanting, ‘I can’t breathe’, a student stopped to cough. “I really can’t breathe,” she managed to say.

Student leaders hoped to meet President Clements at Sikes Hall at 12:05, but Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Almeda Jacks and Chief Diversity Officer Leon Wiles were there to greet them instead. President Clements was in a meeting at the time, Jacks told the audience.

Student leaders emerged from the crowd and took to the steps of Sikes. The students, shown in the feature photo and armed with a microphone, read out a series of requests and grievances addressed to the administration of Clemson University. The full document will be available at the end of the article.

At one point, Vice President Jacks took the microphone, stating, “I want to tell you black lives do matter”.

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