Students at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, are demanding the school remove a statue of Judge Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor — the namesake and co-founder of the university — from campus.
Student protesters took a photo in front of the Judge Baylor statue, holding Black Lives Matter signs and dressed in all black clothing on Baylor’s 176 birthday, as well as the first day of Black History Month, according to a report by the Baylor Lariat.
“The point of the picture is not to remove Judge Baylor as a whole. It’s to remove Judge Baylor from campus,” student Sam Onilenla told the newspaper. “I don’t want to see it on campus just because I know I’m not supposed to be here, according to him. Having him off campus is going to be the start of racial healing.”
Onilenla also mentioned that the protest was planned Baylor’s birthday to make a statement about racial issues on campus.
“I think that the problems we have today started from that day,” said Onilenla. “Integration didn’t happen until 1963, so you have 118 years where there’s no black people on this campus.”
“I think that is significant because this campus was built not to have black people on this campus,” the student added.
The student expressed that if the Baylor statue were to be removed from Baylor’s campus, then students will believe that the university is taking racial issues seriously.
“It’s having those ideals still founded, literally built, ingrained into the school,” said Onilenla. “Once we remove that from campus, then we can start removing — the rest of the stuff off the campus that makes us feel uncomfortable.”
Onilenla, however, did not appear to elaborate on what else needs to be removed that makes students feel uncomfortable.
“As a slave owner and as a Confederacy supporter, he should not be on this campus, especially right in front of Waco Hall,” the student added. “There’s nothing religious about killing slaves or having those ideas.”
Another student, Sydney Davis, said that seeing many different races at the protest was reassuring.
“To know that we are supported not only by black people, but people of other colors, other races — it’s extremely important,” said Davis. “It gets the message heard, and it gives us a sense of unity that we don’t really get to see on an everyday basis.”