Salem State Holds Public Forum Addressing Racism on Campus

An investigation is underway at Salem State University in Massachusetts after racist graffiti was found at the school's baseball field last week.

This isn't the first time the university has been at the center of racial tension. In May the school's Twitter account was hacked and a series of racist tweets were sent.

On Thursday, the school's president decided to address the discriminatory behavior by canceling classes and holding a forum.

The discussion was part of "Forward Together So We Can Do Better," a series of discussions aimed at improving the climate on campus.

Salem State President John Keenan, President of Inclusive Excellence Lisa McBride, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and others spoke.

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During the discussion, students of color walked in single-file to stand on the school lawn in front of the podium.

At one point, wearing all black, they chanted "We have no voice here," in response to what they say is Salem State University's mistreatment of minority students.

"What I really want for this campus is fair treatment from police officers," one student said.

"There's so much disunion here," said another.

Keenan said the goal of starting a dialogue is to make every student feel comfortable.

"Together we will work toward confronting and combating and quite frankly eliminating hatred on this campus," Keenan said. "Whatever you are on this campus, you should feel welcome."

Some students said Thursday's talk is a step forward, but it will take time and effort to mend the divide.

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Keenan said students have made an impact on recent changes the school has implemented.

"One request was that we have a campus climate survey, we did that," he said. "One request was training for our professionals here on campus before the results come back - we did that."

A minority student group has plans to host a discussion on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.

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