A group of students at Arizona State University were allowed to protest against hate speech instead of taking a final exam, a decision which was reportedly approved by their professor.
Professor Angeles Maldonado, who teaches a Global Politics of Human Rights class at ASU, gave her students the option to take a final exam or create a group project, according to The Arizona Republic. A group of around 20 students organized a protest near the school's library in which they held signs for causes such as Black Lives Matter, forming what they called a "wall against hate."
"The class decided that as a group project they wanted to make their voices heard about the issues that are affecting them today, so instead of just reading about the human-rights violations, they'd speak out about the current violations that are happening," said Maldonado.
Maldonado also said that she felt it was her duty as an educator to support her student's decision.
Passersby were invited to join the protest, which covered issues from LGBT rights, immigration, racial profiling, and women's rights.
"This was something that we all got together and said we would express some of the things we don't like, so a lot of the other people here are protesting things like immigration, immigration ban, women's rights, things like that," said Alex Corella, a student in the class.
Berlyn Schulte, one of the students who organized the protest, said that speaking out against the policies of President Donald Trump was a factor for the students, The State Press reports.
"We came out here to stand in solidarity, with everything that’s been going on under the Trump administration," Schulte said. "We have Muslim bans, we have [the] Black Lives Matter movement, we just have every minority under attack at this point. So we’re standing in solidarity with everybody who is under attack."
Schultz added that the students who protested felt very passionately about the issues that they were speaking about. "It got really emotional, a lot of us cried, a lot of us are just fed up," said Schultz. "Some of us felt it was time to do something."
The class reportedly chose 11:30 a.m. on a Thursday to stage the protest, in order to maximize the disruption that they could cause.
"I've been going out to a lot of protests lately to show the administration that we don’t approve of them and to show the people in our community that there are people who support them," said Maria Pakulis, who is not in Maldonado's class but joined in the protest.
The student reportedly encountered some trouble with campus security during the event. ASU personnel reportedly asked the group to move somewhere else so that people could get through on the walkway, at which point the students reportedly stood in a line about a foot apart from each other rather than shoulder to shoulder.
Campus police were reportedly called to the protest, giving the group two warnings before the students moved onto nearby Hayden Lawn.
In a statement about the protest, ASU said that the university supports the free exchange and expression of ideas.
"All individuals and groups on campus have the right to express their opinions, whatever those opinions may be, as long as they do not violate student code of conduct and student organization policies and do not infringe on another student’s individual rights," said ASU.