ithaca college students protest university president dnt_00001323.jpg
ithaca college students protest university president dnt_00001323.jpg
Now playing
01:23
Ithaca College students staging walkout over racial remarks
NYU flag
PHOTO: WPIX; KAYLA EUBANKS
NYU flag
Now playing
01:06
NYU slammed for Black History Month menu
Professor Johnny Williams has received death threats after being listed on a professor watch list.
PHOTO: CNN
Professor Johnny Williams has received death threats after being listed on a professor watch list.
Now playing
05:07
Professors on watch lists get death threats
Drexel University professor George Ciccariello on Fox News - March 30, 2017
PHOTO: Fox News
Drexel University professor George Ciccariello on Fox News - March 30, 2017
Now playing
01:21
Professor's tweet about soldier sparks anger
On April 5th, 2017 students at Harvard start the first day of Resistance School -- a 4-week course in anti-Trump activism created by progressive students at the university's Kennedy School of Government.
PHOTO: Harvard University News Office/Harvard University News Office/Harvard University News Office
On April 5th, 2017 students at Harvard start the first day of Resistance School -- a 4-week course in anti-Trump activism created by progressive students at the university's Kennedy School of Government.
Now playing
00:41
Harvard revokes offers over hateful memes
PHOTO: KWTX
Now playing
01:53
Fraternity under fire for 'insensitive' party
PHOTO: WSFA
Now playing
00:51
White nationalist speaks at Auburn
A man gets sprayed with a chemical irritant as multiple fights break out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017.
PHOTO: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images
A man gets sprayed with a chemical irritant as multiple fights break out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017.
Now playing
01:29
Pro-Trump, anti-Trump fights yield 21 arrests
Jim and Evelyn Piazza stand by as Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announces the results of an investigation into the death of their son Timothy Piazza, seen in photo at right, a Penn State University fraternity pledge, during a press conference Friday, May 5, 2017, in Bellefonte, Pa. Timothy Piazza had toxic levels of alcohol in his body and was badly injured in a series of falls, authorities said Friday in announcing criminal charges against members of the organization and the frat itself. (Joe Hermitt /PennLive.com via AP)
PHOTO: Joe Hermitt/PennLive.com via AP
Jim and Evelyn Piazza stand by as Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announces the results of an investigation into the death of their son Timothy Piazza, seen in photo at right, a Penn State University fraternity pledge, during a press conference Friday, May 5, 2017, in Bellefonte, Pa. Timothy Piazza had toxic levels of alcohol in his body and was badly injured in a series of falls, authorities said Friday in announcing criminal charges against members of the organization and the frat itself. (Joe Hermitt /PennLive.com via AP)
Now playing
00:53
Family of Penn State victim wants justice
Now playing
01:58
Hearing begins on fraternity hazing death case
A bonfire set by demonstrators protesting a scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos burns on Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. The event was canceled out of safety concerns after protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
PHOTO: Ben Margot/AP
A bonfire set by demonstrators protesting a scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos burns on Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. The event was canceled out of safety concerns after protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Now playing
02:12
Violence erupts over Breitbart editor event
Alt Right Campus Flyers_00032129.jpg
Alt Right Campus Flyers_00032129.jpg
Now playing
05:06
White nationalists recruiting students
minnesota football team ends boycott presser sot_00011009.jpg
PHOTO: WCCO
minnesota football team ends boycott presser sot_00011009.jpg
Now playing
01:17
Minnesota football team ends boycott
University of Minnesota wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky, flanked by quarterback Mitch Leidner, left, and tight end Duke Anyanwu stands in front of other team members as he reads a statement on behalf of the players in the Nagurski Football Complex in Minneapolis, Minn., Thursday night, Dec. 15, 2016.  The players delivered a defiant rebuke of the university's decision to suspend 10 of their teammates, saying they would not participate in any football activities until the school president and athletic director apologized and revoked the suspensions. If that meant they don't play in the upcoming Holiday Bowl against Washington State, they appeared poised to stand firm. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)
PHOTO: Jeff Wheeler/AP
University of Minnesota wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky, flanked by quarterback Mitch Leidner, left, and tight end Duke Anyanwu stands in front of other team members as he reads a statement on behalf of the players in the Nagurski Football Complex in Minneapolis, Minn., Thursday night, Dec. 15, 2016. The players delivered a defiant rebuke of the university's decision to suspend 10 of their teammates, saying they would not participate in any football activities until the school president and athletic director apologized and revoked the suspensions. If that meant they don't play in the upcoming Holiday Bowl against Washington State, they appeared poised to stand firm. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)
Now playing
02:16
Minnesota football team walks out on practice
Joe Mixon video Oklahoma newday_00000000.jpg
PHOTO: Pickleman's Cafe Surveillance
Joe Mixon video Oklahoma newday_00000000.jpg
Now playing
02:06
Football star punches woman in the head
professor in hiding donald trump comments lah pkg erin _00002915.jpg
professor in hiding donald trump comments lah pkg erin _00002915.jpg
Now playing
02:45
Professor hiding after she spoke about Trump
ucla murder police investigation orig jk_00002113.jpg
ucla murder police investigation orig jk_00002113.jpg
Now playing
03:39
Could the police have saved Andrea DelVesco's life?

Story highlights

Ithaca College students stage walkout to demand president's resignation

Protesters say president hasn't done enough to improve racial climate on campus

Walkout came two days after University of Missouri president stepped down

(CNN) —  

Emboldened by recent upheavals at the University of Missouri, hundreds of Ithaca College students staged a walkout Wednesday to demand the resignation of President Tom Rochon, who they claim has not responded adequately to incidents of racism on campus.

Chanting “no confidence” and “new president, now,” students filled the academic quad at this school in upstate New York, where they marched, listened to speeches and lay on the ground for 20 minutes of silent protest.

“With University of Missouri’s president stepping down, we demand Rochon to do the same as it is vital to fight against both covert and overt racism in all places of education and empowerment,” said protest organizers in a statement.

A campus group called People of Color at Ithaca College is urging a student vote of “confidence” or “no confidence” in Rochon by November 30. The college’s faculty council also is seeking a referendum on Rochon.

Ithaca has been rocked recently by several racially charged episodes, including a frat party last month whose invitation urged people to come as “Preps” or “Crooks.” The suggested “Preps” attire included a polo shirt, khakis and boat shoes while “Crooks” were to be dressed in “thuggish style” with baggy sweats and “bling.” After a flood of complaints, the party was canceled.

That followed a campus panel event at which two Ithaca alumni referred to Tatiana Sy, a panelist who is African American, as a “savage.” And in September, a group of students protested what they called racial profiling and harassment by campus police officers during a training session for resident assistants.

“In general, the college cannot prevent the use of hurtful language on campus. Such language, intentional or unintentional, exists in the world and will seep into our community,” Rochon said in a statement to the Ithaca community last month.

“We can’t promise that the college will never host a speaker who could say something racist, homophobic, misogynistic or otherwise disrespectful,” he added. “Even so, we reaffirm our commitment to making our campus an inclusive and respectful community.”

Do U.S. colleges have a race problem?

Rochon and other college administrators have held meetings with student leaders to discuss the racial climate on campus. On Tuesday, he announced the college would hire a diversity officer next year to address student concern about racism and cultural bias.

But campus activists complain the president hasn’t done enough.

“Students have felt that he is incapable of leading the school in a manner that creates the most inclusive and diverse community as possible,” student vice president of campus affairs Yena Seo told CNN affiliate WSTM.

A vote of no confidence could not force Rochon to step down, although it would send a strong message to the college’s board of trustees, which has so far expressed support for the embattled president.

“It is not easy to see the IC community that I love going through such a difficult time – to see so many of our students recounting experiences that leave them feeling fear, pain and alienation at a time in their lives when they should instead be feeling welcomed, supported and inspired,” said Tom Grape, chair of the board of trustees, on Wednesday.

“Board members and I are in contact on a daily basis with the president and other campus leaders about the issues that are taking place, and I am committed to helping the institution address its problems so that we may become the Ithaca College that we all know we can be,” Grape said.

Wednesday’s unrest at Ithaca came two days after the president and chancellor of the University of Missouri stepped down amid similar protests and as a number of U.S. colleges and universities, including Yale and USC, are grappling with incidents of racism on campus.

On Twitter, many were using the hashtag #BlackOnCampus Wednesday to share examples of racism and discrimination they have encountered in school.