MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) — As the clock struck 1:00 p.m. and the bell rang across the K-State campus, students and faculty walked out of class and onto the Anderson hall lawn in a show of unity.
“It is very unusual for a college campus to cancel classes so we can walk together," University President Richard Myers said. "(It's) much easier to do it at night, much easier to do it on weekends... but (it's) more meaningful to do that in the middle of the day.”
President Myers and Black Student Union President Darrel Reese Jr. were among those who addressed the crowd.
"Today marks a very important time here at K-State and in Manhattan, Kansas," Reese said. "In this very moment, today, we all have the opportunity to make a decision, if we are going to uphold what it means to be a family. It starts with loving one another as one has loved us.”
Tuesday was the first time since 1916 that the school was put on pause for something other than weather.
"It's a big deal when a university shuts down classes for two hours, shuts down essentially the campus," Myers said. "To make it available for people to come to a walk, where we can talk about our values, our principles, our aspirations, (and) who we want to be. That's a big step, not many universities would take that."
After the event, students were invited to take part in facilitated conversations about inclusive education, reflection and action at the K-State Student Union.