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#StudentBlackOut: College Students Rally, Demand Change Across Campus

Student activists from across the globe hold a day of action today to further the movement of ending racial injustice.
Image: Solidarity rally with University of Missouri demonstrations
epa05022656 University of California, Irvine students raise their fists in solidarity with the University of Missouri demonstrations, in Irvine, California, USA, 12 November 2015. Two University of Missouri officials recently stepped down after protests over alleged racist incidents at the campus. EPA/EUGENE GARCIAEUGENE GARCIA / EPA

Students from across the country are gathering in support of the #StudentBlackOut, a national day of action towards ending racial injustice. Walk-outs, protests, and rallies are already underway and many more are planned at a plethora of universities throughout the day.

The collective day of action was organized by The Black Liberation Collective, a newly formed coalition of student groups from around the country.

On Tuesday Night, an anonymous Twitter user threatened to harm Black Students at Kean University in New Jersey. The tweets surfaced during a peaceful gathering of students on campus to raise awareness of racial unrest on college campuses, according to a message on the Kean University Facebook page.

Kean campus police said in a statement that they have notified the Department of Homeland Security and that the campus would heighten security for the rest of the week.

"The campus is open today, Wednesday, Nov. 18. Classes will be held as scheduled. Although we have taken appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of our community, we respect your right to use your own best judgment in deciding whether or not to come to campus," Kean campus police said on their Facebook page.

Today students at several schools have already begun taking part in #StudentBlackOut day, presenting their own list of demands for equity and tolerance for Black students on campus.

Students at Princeton University occupied Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber's office, refusing to leave until their demands were met. As of Wednesday afternoon, they were discussing the demands with him in his office and at least five students plan to sleep there out of fear they won't be able to get back in on Thursday if they leave, according to Princeton University Press Club.

Eisgruber has said he won't sign that particular document that the students presented, although something may be typed up at a later date, according to a student who was present in the office.

Students also held a walk-out on the campus, organized by the The Black Justice League, wearing all black.

Princeton students are demanding that the university public acknowledge the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson by changing the name of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, that diversity initiatives like having teachers trained in cultural competency be implemented, and they are calling for a cultural space on campus dedicated to Black students.

RELATED: Black Liberation Collective Calls For #StudentBlackout Day

"I am a black male student here at Princeton. I have a stake in these ongoing debates," Aaron Robertson told NBCBLK. "but I fear this endless cycle of conversations will continue. Revolutions are ugly and slow, and we have to be in it for the long run."

Early Wednesday the school released a statement saying they would be changing the "historically vexed and anachronistic" title of the "masters” of the residential colleges to “head of the college" effective immediately.

"I enthusiastically support the change adopted by our heads of college," President Eisgruber said in the statement. "The new title better describes their roles, and it does away with antiquated terminology that discomfited some students, faculty, and the heads of college themselves."

At the University of Toronto in Canada students held a rally in solidarity with Mizzou. They want to address the problem of lack of representation of Black students and faculty, according to one student.

Students at the University of of Massachusetts at Amherst have secured a meeting with the school provost to be held Sunday. Many Black students on campus feel like their voices aren't heard and are pushing for more diversity, according to a student who works on the school newspaper.

Wesleyan University students have some demands of their own as well. "We, as students of color at Wesleyan University, have been neglected by the administration at this school," organizers wrote on their site. "We are demanding that our administration make justice and equity a priority. With the support of fellow students, faculty, and staff, we are standing up."

Their demands include the hiring of an equity advocate for the university, establishment of a multicultural center, and tracking of faculty and staff bias and microaggressions.

Students at the University of Cincinnati are calling for two university police officers, Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt, to be banned from policing on or off campus, among other things. The two officers were present when fellow officer Ray Tensing shot and killed Samuel Dubose, an unarmed Black man. Tensing has since been charged with murder.

Students at Tufts University walked out of class Wednesday. As part of their protests, students have used the hashtag #thethreepercent to highlight the school’s percentage of black students.

Students at the University of Ottawa, John Jay College, Harvard, the University of California at Berkeley, Townson University, University of Delaware, Rutgers University, Michigan State University, and Stanford have also joined the movement.

Students and others also gathered in Atlanta, Georgia and shut down an intersection with their protests Wednesday night in solidarity with the #studentblackout.