Senior Anthony Mungo speaking to the student protestors outside Lumbee Hall, where the Office of the Chancellor is located. PN Photo/Tyrique Weston.
Oct. 26 marked the first day of what student protestors say will be a week of demonstrations calling for the resignation of Chancellor Robin Cummings after he attended a rally for President Donald Trump on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Robeson County Fairgrounds in Lumberton.
Cummings’ attendance at the president’s rally came a day after he urged students, faculty and staff in an email message to refrain from “gatherings of any size if possible.”
Elijah Bivens, a sophomore at UNCP, said that their anger comes from being told to social distance and wear a mask by the chancellor while he took the opportunity to attend a rally that lacked both. They are also angry because, to them, President Trump is against the inclusivity that this campus prides itself in.
“How are you a chancellor for the most diverse school in the South, but go to a rally for a man against that?” asks Bevins.
Chancellor Cummings released a statement Sunday following the backlash he received on social media, but, to the protestors, that isn’t enough. They think the statement glossed over the actual issues people had with the chancellor’s actions. Emma Quiorz Garcia says that this is why they’re protesting, so they can ensure that their issues are being heard.
“We aren’t asking for too much,” she said. “We’re just asking to be heard.”
Junior Samuel Shelton addressing student protestors, pointing to Chancellor Cummings' office. PN Photo/Tyrique Weston.
The protest, which started at 12 p.m. in front of Lumbee Hall, was attended by approximately 65 people, although the size of the group varied throughout the day as student organizers advised participants not to cut class. Water, snacks and hand sanitizer were provided and masks were required.
Along with the gathering in front of Lumbee Hall, groups of students marched across campus chanting slogans such as, “What do we want? A leader! What did we get? A liar!” and “Chancellor Cummings, go home!” and “Hey ho! Chancellor Cummings has got to go!”
Campus police officers said that the protest has been well organized and that student organizers, Jalen Ellis and Samuel Shelton, have been in constant communication with police. Students plan to remain outside of Lumbee Hall until 12 a.m. Tuesday and to protest every day for the remainder of the week.