Counterculture/Integration Protest

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In 1999, Washington and Lee University decided to admit black students. Now, many of the students (some black, some white) are protesting in favor of integrated dorms. Most of the administrators are against this dramatic and controversial move. However, with this many of the students and professors demanding it, some compromise may have to be made.


In 1994, Louisiana State University opened its doors to black students. Over the next few years, a few other schools in the Confederate States of America followed suit. In 1999, in a 4-2 decision by the board, Washington and Lee University decided to accept black students.

This caused significant consternation amongst the alumni and many of the teachers. The president of the board was almost removed. It was decided not to remove him, because after the decision was made, revoking it would cause even more trouble.

Since then, there have been several hate crimes, and many accusations of prejudice in grading against professors. After the first year, the problems seemed to settle down, and mostly be small and confined. As of fall 2004, Washington and Lee University had 8% black students in its undergraduate program, and almost 2% black students in the law school.

In 2004 and 2005, some students began demanding integrated dorms. The board mostly ignored these requests because they seemed too radical. Currently, there is one black dorm on campus, and there has been talk of adding another. In February 2005, the students began organizing for a massive protest.

Also in February 2005, there was a particularly cruel hate crime that has sparked an even higher level of controversy about integration. Jamal Thompson, a black student, was found naked on the front steps of the black dorm building, unconcious with severe bruising and lacerations and derogatory comments written in permanent marker on his forehead and chest.

The Situation

On March 5th, nearly 1000 students, professors, and alumni have gathered outside the building where the board is meeting for the first time this month. Several important student leaders have gone in to speak with the board directly to convince them to integrate the dorms. Some of the counter-protesters are also in the building, hoping to prevent the board from capitulating. The protest outside is currently calm, but tensions are high, and violence is possible.

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