Western Washington University needs to do more to address safety concerns of students of color, a group of students told the board of trustees on Friday.

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Saying their university has failed to address the safety concerns of students of color, a group of Western Washington University students read a strongly worded statement during a board of trustees meeting Friday and asked for an apology.

Their concerns stem from an incident in November, when student-body President Belina Seare — who is black — was threatened by an outburst of anonymous, profanity-laced rape and death threats on social media after she raised questions about the appropriateness of the school’s Viking mascot.

Classes were canceled for a day. A student, Tysen Campbell, was later arrested and charged with malicious harassment, a felony.

Seare, who as student-body president is allotted time to speak during trustee meetings, led about a dozen students who together read the statement at the meeting, which was held at the Washington Athletic Club in downtown Seattle.

The students drove from Bellingham to confront the trustees on Friday because it was the first time the governing board has met since the November incident, Seare said afterward.

“As people with institutional power, it’s your responsibility on this campus to prioritize the safety of ALL students, especially those who experience violence at disproportional rates,” the statement read. “We need you to recognize that safety doesn’t look the same for all students, nor does violence.”

The students said they already had brought their concerns to Western President Bruce Shepard, but were not satisfied with the response they’ve received.

In the statement, they asked for an apology and said they wanted to meet with trustees “to further discuss our needs and demands on this campus.”

In an email, WWU spokesman Paul Cocke acknowledged “very real concerns in our society about the lack of progress toward discrimination,” and said the definition of safety for people of color is changing to include such things as the need for a gathering space.

He said the university has offered listening sessions for students, and training for faculty on equity and inclusion. The school’s Faculty Senate is also working on campus climate, he added, and Shepard’s task force on equity, inclusion and diversity is working on additional priorities and directions.

But Seare said the moves the university has made — including a town hall-style meeting a week after the incident — seemed like public-relations efforts designed to make the university appear it was doing something meaningful.

“With everything that happened last quarter, the university is not prioritizing our safety,” Seare said Friday.

The students said that on Nov. 24, the day classes were suspended, many white students reacted with delight when they heard they didn’t have to go to class. Yet black students were so frightened that some didn’t leave their rooms all day, even to eat. The anonymous threats included references to lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan.

Shepard’s message to campus that morning — that there was no immediate danger to students — came off as dismissing black students’ fears, Seare said.

During Friday’s meeting, Seare said, the trustees listened to what the students had to say, but did not give a response, although Chair Karen Lee thanked members of the group before they left.

In his email, Cocke said Western “takes all of this seriously at the same time that we recognize the frustration of not only our own students but those around the nation. Universities are rightfully the place for such issues to be challenged and changed and we are committed to continuing that process.”

By happenstance on Friday, a man who was attending a Western class with a friend was cited for having a concealed weapon on campus. He was escorted off the grounds. It was not known why the man, who was not a Western student, was carrying a gun.

An administrative law bars guns from Washington college campuses, Cocke said. The 30-year-old man, who has a concealed weapon permit, was cited for having a gun on campus.