IUP student group STAND—Students Taking Action Now Darfur, the student-led division of the Genocide Intervention Network—apologized Thursday evening for images placed on trees around IUP’s Oak Grove. The images, which depicted hangings, were placed as part of a project intended to raise awareness about genocide.
At a Thursday afternoon meeting, leaders of STAND, the NAACP, and the Black Student League agreed to hold a “STAND Against Racism” event this coming Tuesday evening, at 8:00 p.m. in the Monongahela Room.
Elliot Sutter, president of STAND, explained that the “goal was to raise awareness about genocide and mass atrocities.” STAND Vice President Thamita Rodrigues added that “Our first mistake was to use the image. Our second was not to connect the dots between the image and American culture.” (Rodrigues is also vice president of LaSO, the IUP Latino Student Organization.)
After the meeting, BSL President Melkia Green wanted students to understand that “this was an innocent act and was not racially motivated.”
The meeting will provide students the opportunity to discuss issues related to racism and genocide. NAACP President Bernice Jean-Louis said the event will help students understand that “STAND’s intent was not to threaten or harm anyone on campus.”
NAACP Vice President Anthony Royster said that during next Tuesday’s meeting, the missions of STAND, the NAACP, and the Black Student League will be explained.
STAND “envisions a world in which they international community protects civilians from genocidal violence and elected officials are held accountable for their action, or inaction, in the face of genocide.”
The NAACP’s mission is to “ensure political, education, social, and economic equality for all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination.”
The Black Student League serves as a governing body for minority students, and as a liaison between students and administrators. Their goal is to unite all students.