DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — For the past few days, Bethune Cookman University students have been protesting about financial issues and what they say is a lack of leadership, plaguing the university.
- BCU students stage walkout to protest school leadership
- Student government president: We want answers
- PREVIOUS STORY: Bethune-Cookman Students Protest University’s Leadership, Financial Woes
Wednesday, students walked out after their chapel service. They said they're making a statement and want their school leaders to listen to their demands.
The students call it the #HailMary movement, with the message being they're standing up for themselves in founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune's name and demanding answers from administration.
"As students, we want answers," said Dorenzo Thomas, Student Government Association President.
Dozens of students walked out and stood in solidarity to express their concerns.
They said they want to learn more about the university’s financial resources, the state of the university, and other concerns of whether Interim President Hubert Grimes will remain at the helm after rumors have swirled of his removal.
"Why are things the way they are, why is the university in this state, what’s pushed us to this state, and how are we going to get out?" asked Jaliyah Durham, a BCU student.
Spectrum News 13 dug through the documents that show the university's looming debt of about $100 million, which is one of the reasons the university is on probation with the accreditation board Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
These are a part of the mounting reasons why students want to meet with leaders.
"We're here to tell them to be adults and come to the table and have these difficult conversations in order to see our university progress," said Arthur Wright, another student.
"I hope that they hear everything we've been asking for. All we want is answers. All we want is the truth," Durham said.
Students said the truth is worth fighting for to keep the school’s legacy going.
"I'm going to stay at this school. I'm going to fight for this school, and I'm going to prosper my reason for being here," said BCU student Lakyla Richards.
Students said they expect to start showing up at the school Thursday around 5 a.m. hoping to get the meeting with leaders at 7 a.m. ahead of the board of trustees meeting.
The board of trustees are meeting Thursday and Friday.