Students hold demonstration on Reed College campus for 'National Day of Boycott'

National Day of Boycott on Reed College Campus (KATU photo)

Hundreds of students and staff walked out of class and marched across Reed College Monday for the National Day of Boycott, carrying signs and raising a chant as they streamed across the quad.

Organizers said the boycott is to “stand in solidarity of the black and brown students” at the college.

The National Day of Boycott is a call to action from actor Isaiah Washington who suggests the African American community pick a day (September 26) to boycott their place of work and government institutions to demonstrate how Black Lives Matter.

Reed students behind Monday’s boycott said their absence from class was to show their refusal to participate in institutions that “fail to address their compliance and perpetuation of racist, classist systems.”

Organizers said they were fed up with the college administration not doing enough about the black student retention rate, which they said is at about 50 percent. And they said the school lacks diversity among faculty.

"Our institution has a 50 percent retention rate for black students and six black faculty members and only two of them have tenure," said sophomore Addison Bates.

That retention rate is above the national average, but students said it's not enough, and they will no longer tolerate it.

Also on their minds was the issue of police brutality.

"We are here not only to mourn the death of black people who have been lost to institutional racism but also to address the institutional racism at our university," Bates said.

After hours of marching and protesting, a group gathered to share their demands with the president.

"We want to put as much pressure as we can on administration," said freshman Eden Daniel. "We have our demands that we listed out; we want to publicize that this is happening so that the administration will address our demands."

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