Brown University dormitory halls, often the site of dormitory protests, have become the battleground for the Occupy Wall Street movement and its supporters, as the country is hit with unprecedented levels of student debt.
The college’s dormitry, with a population of around 15,000, was recently named one of the most indebted institutions in the United States by the New York Times.
But many dormitaries have taken on the mantle of the online equivalent of the Black Lives Matter movement, with the hashtag #Racism is a common online rallying cry for students to rally against racism and police brutality.
At the University of Houston, students, activists and professors have been organising to take over the campus and fight back against the administration’s racist policies and policies of “safe spaces.”
“The fact that it’s happening on campus, it’s not happening in the city, so we’re trying to push back against that,” said Taryn Broussard, a freshman at the school.
Students and professors, some of whom are black, have been taking on the role of the movement against racism, a movement that has been taking root across the US for more than a year.
They are not the only ones who have taken up the cause, as an increasing number of students are calling for Black Lives Matters to take up a leadership role.
The movement has been met with resistance from some of the institution’s faculty, with some even claiming they should not be part of the campaign.
“If it doesn’t come out of the mouths of black students and students of color, it doesn.
I would say that,” Dr Jennifer Worthen, a lecturer at the university’s College of Law, told The Independent.
Black students have been among the most prominent targets of student protests across the country, especially in the wake of the fatal shooting of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted by a jury of murder charges.
“I’ve been trying to educate them about what Black Lives matter, what racial justice means,” said Worthe, who is white and the co-founder of the university Black Students Alliance.
Worthe said her group was concerned that the movement’s focus on racial justice would cause the Black Students Association to divide and marginalise its own members.
“I think it will be really hard for us to do a good job of being the voice of our people.
They [the student activists] will be taking a position that, in my opinion, is not really an accurate representation of the diversity of our community,” she said.
In the US, there have been a number of recent high-profile cases of Black Lives and police violence, including the shooting of Michael Brown by a white officer, the killing of Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer, and the death of Oscar Grant by a Philadelphia police officer in August 2016.
A spokesperson for the university said the department is in contact with students and staff about the protests and is working to address concerns.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the movement has taken on a new level of significance with the arrival of the first Black president of the University at Buffalo.
For many students, the arrival in Buffalo of Black leaders in the student body, including Worthet and BrouSSard, is seen as a sign that the protest movement is gaining traction, particularly among students of colour.
But others worry that the rise of Black students will create a backlash, with many of the students saying they will not be comfortable being associated with the Black leaders, which they say is a betrayal of the cause.
Broussards father is an African-American man, and he said the arrival into Buffalo of such a black leader is a positive step, but added that it has been a struggle to be a part of this movement, which he considers an “uncomfortable situation”.
“It’s just not easy for me to support people in the Black community,” he said.
“They’re not like us.”
Black Lives Matter protesters hold placards as they march to the University Housing and Community Development office in New York, US, August 6, 2017.
While students have taken to social media to share their stories of being targeted by police, many have found themselves being targeted for their own actions.
As a Black woman in New Orleans, Nelva Williams was told she could not leave her apartment because the police were following her and her partner.
An 18-year-old college student in Philadelphia, who goes by the name ‘Nell’, said she was told by a member of the Philadelphia police department to leave her house and her boyfriend’s apartment because they had been stopped by police and that they were being followed by the police.
“I was just like, ‘No, please, don’t do this to me, I don’t know how to feel.
Please don’t’,” she told The Guardian.