WATCH: Student-led demonstration addresses racially-charged flyer


Alec Reynolds

Hand-in-hand, students chanted messages of hope at the end of the demonstration.

At least fifty students stood together in a circle. Hand-in-hand, they held their arms up towards the sky and chanted:  

“We will not be guided by fear or defeat.”

“We will avoid the pitfalls.”

“And we will beat the odds that are against us.”

A student-led demonstration took place at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Student Union Plaza in response to a “Welcome White Week” flyer that was hung beside a “Welcome Black Week” poster.

Welcome Black Week, events sponsored by African American Programs and Services, took place Aug. 29 through Sept. 2. 



University spokesperson Amanda Nageleisen said the “Welcome White Week” flyer never went through the approval process through the Student Union to be posted.  

President Geoffrey Mearns, among other university administrators, were also in attendance.



 Junior James Johnson was one of the organizers of the demonstration. He said that part of the demonstration was to address the “Welcome White Week” flyer.

“The ignorance that stands on NKU’s campus is no longer acceptable,” Johnson said. “It’s starting to become deliberate. Just like this person who deliberately copied our flyer.”


Although the demonstration addressed the flyer, the students, both collectively and individually, discussed the underrepresentation they feel on campus and the challenges they face as black students. 

“We worked hard for Welcome Black Week in response to the lack of representation in the universal programs within Welcome Week, and we can even go back to homecoming,” James said. “It’s like a cause and effect. So the reason they did this [posted the “Welcome White Week” flyer] was because we had Welcome Black Week.

“The reason we had Welcome Black Week was because we weren’t initially included in the festivities the university has.”

African American students spoke about the issues they face on campus.

One student spoke about being the only black student in her education classes.

Another about trouble finding study partners for chemistry.  

And another spoke about the general feeling of being left out.

President Mearns stepped into the circle, and thanked the attendees for engaging in a constructive conversation.

“I’m grateful for the way you’ve responded,” Mearns said. “You’ve responded in the best way of the character of the people here and the character of this institution.

“You know what the answer is to this right? You know how you defeat ignorance is through knowledge. You defeat despair and cynicism with faith and hope. You defeat darkness with light and overall you defeat hate with love. I’m thankful for the spirit of the conversation, and they way you’ve responded because you exemplify those traits and that’s why we know we’ll win… I’m glad to be with you. Thank you very much.”

Mearns also said the university is evaluating the source of the flyer.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We at The Northerner respect the First Amendment and encourage constructive conversation. Our policy, however, does not allow comments that are off topic, invade privacy, or contain racist, sexist, discriminatory or potentially libelous remarks. The Northerner reserves the right to remove comments that do not enhance the conversation.