The Corbett House at Lewis & Clark
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • The Corbett House at Lewis & Clark
The Black Student Union and others at Lewis & Clark College plan to demonstrate tomorrow morning—and faculty members are showing solidarity—after racist comments popped up on the social media app Yik Yak today.

The app allows users to see and post messages visible only to people within a five-mile radius. On Tuesday students talking about mundane things like homework had their conversations punctuated with comments like those pictured below, which were sent along by several students at the college.



The comments prompted students to plan a demonstration tomorrow morning at 8 am, outside the Frank Manor House, one of the college's core administration buildings. The students—like college students at the University of Missouri, Yale University, and several other institutions recently—are demanding action, though precisely what they'll ask for is unclear.

"Tomorrow's demonstration will just be to show solidarity to black students who feel threatened," says Tyler Wayne Patterson, a senior at Lewis & Clark. Patterson points to a conference held at the school last weekend, the Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies. He thinks conversations at the symposium may have sparked the racist comments.

Unlike similar incidents at other schools recently, Lewis & Clark faculty is reacting immediately. A group of professors posted a petition to the site earlier today, pledging "Support for Black Students at Lewis & Clark College."

"We the undersigned faculty and staff at Lewis & Clark College want to express our support in light of the recent threats on Yik Yak to black students," the petition reads. "The messages were direct and targeted racist threats against black students and therefore constitute criminal harassment and intimidation. This is not a case of free speech, which we support."

Lewis & Clark Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez also sent out an email today about the comments, indicating the college has informed Portland police about the incident.

"We are working closely with the Black Student Union and thank those students for their leadership during these troubling times," Gonzalez wrote. "Hate has no place at Lewis & Clark. We must work together to ensure an inclusive experience for all members of our community and maintain a campus where all are free to learn in a safe and welcoming environment."