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Students at St. Thomas hold sit-in after racial incident

The atrium was packed with students wearing white to symbolize what they call the "current demographic at the University of St. Thomas."

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Students, faculty and staff at St. Thomas University held a "white out" sit-in at the Anderson Student Center Thursday to protest a racial incident that happened late last week.

The atrium was packed with students wearing white to symbolize what they call the "current demographic at the University of St. Thomas."

A flyer that was circulated about the event read, "It is a privilege to not to have to think about things like this everyday. Show up for those of us WHO DO."

RELATED: Racial slur found in St. Thomas dorm

The victim in the racial incident, Kevyn Perkins, walked back to his dorm room last Friday morning and noticed something written across his door.

"The wood of the door said, "N***** Go Back" in red marker," Perkins said, earlier this week. "Words can't describe how mad I was."

Perkins was in attendance at Thursday's sit-in, sitting next to St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

Before the sit-in, he said he hoped there would be further action after the sit-in was over.

"I'm more worried about the follow through, and like how the message is going to get out there," Perkins said.

Danielle Wong, a junior at the university, says she is friends with Perkins and that her heart sank when she found out about last week's incident. She says she too has considered leaving St. Thomas in her freshman year.

"It wasn't as diverse as they made it out to be, it wasn't as inclusive as people had made it out to be," Wong said.

She said a lot of people are tired of receiving apology emails from the university after each racially discriminatory incident.

"A lot of us are frustrated, a lot of us are tired," Wong said. "I feel tired. I'm frustrated."

She added that she's hopeful that this time around, the university will carry the discussion beyond the sit-in.

Mayor Carter said at the event that he has faith that something will change.

The university released what they're calling an "action plan to combat racism" in response. Dr. Julie Sullivan, the president of the university was also in attendance at the sit-in.

"Racism, hatred, bigotry - anytime it exists in our community, each and everyone of us has a collective responsibility to take action," Sullivan said.

The action plan calls for campus-wide meetings to address concerns from students, conversations in the classroom and trauma resources, among other efforts. Sullivan said in an email that classes will be canceled next Wednesday to facilitate a school-wide discussion.

Both the short-term and the long-term strategies can be found here.

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