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USM Students Rally in Support of Racism Protests

Nora Flaherty
USM President Glenn Cummings addresses students at a rally on the Portland campus Wednesday.

PORTLAND, Maine - About 100 University of Southern Maine students, administrators, faculty and others gathered this morning on the Portland campus to show support for student protests at the University of Missouri, and for students protesting campus racial hostilities across the country.

Hamdi Hassan is a USM student and a campus organizer against racism. She chose not to appear at today's rally, and instead sent a statement that was read by student Jordan Henry. "When we, as students, challenge institutionalized racism, white supremacy is threatened and our lives are at risk."

In the past, Hassan has said efforts to make changes after incidents of campus racism haven't yielded results.

Recently-hired USM President Glenn Cummings appeared at today's rally and talked about efforts the school is making to eliminate racism from the campus.  He says the school has established a "diversity council" that will report directly to him.

"What's really important is that we get to the core of the institutional bigotry that we don't even understand," Cummings said.