University of Cincinnati students protest 'hostile racial climate'

CINCINNATI – A small group of University of Cincinnati students gathered Friday to protest what an organizer called a “hostile racial climate” on campus.

Samuel Burbanks cited the sudden resignation of Dr. Ronald Jackson, the first black dean of the College of Arts & Science, and an anonymous racist cartoon that lampooned Jackson this fall.

Burbanks said Jackson was “forced” to resign Tuesday due to “faculty harassment and lack of support from the top administrators including President Santa Ono and Provost Beverly Davenport.”

Burbanks said Ono and Davenport have failed to enact recommendations in UC’s Diversity Plan, resulting in  “embarrassingly low numbers” of black students, large gaps in graduation rates and poor retention rates, as well as the lack of recruitment, retention and promotion of black faculty.

See UC’s Diversity Plan below or go to

 "We're like, let’s do something about this, because it’s not just UC, it’s also a national problem, and we need to be pioneers," said Amara Agomuo,  a senior pre-law major.

"It took something like that cartoon to kinda wake people up and like, wow, this isn’t something we can just sit quietly about," she said.

Agomuo and other members of the UC Coalition met with administrators Friday.

She said they will meet again next week.

“We  want to let people know this is something that's an ongoing process, we're not gonna sleep on it," she said.

UC spokesman Greg Hand told 9 On Your Side Friday that the university is "in total agreement with the students that it doesn't do enough" to address diversity issues.

"We have a lot of people working exactly on these issues,” Hand said. “There there is a five-year plan in place and we have taken great pains to tell people that at the end of five years everything is not going to be wonderful. This is a continuing issue and there is lots of work to  ...  this is going to take a long time."

Davenport, senior vice president for academic affairs, and Kristi Nelson, senior vice provost for academic affairs, spoke to students, faculty and staff from the College of Arts and Sciences in an open forum Tuesday morning.

See the story about Jackson’s resignation at


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