NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Dozens of students at Old Dominion University gathered at Kaufmann Mall Thursday for a “campus blackout.” The NAACP chapter at ODU organized the rally in a stand against racism, specifically to show solidarity with students at the University of Missouri.

Also Thursday, nearby Norfolk State University students held a similar rally in support of the students at the University of Missouri, chanting, “NSU stands with Mizzou!” on the steps of the Student Center.

“It’s really kind of annoying and heartbreaking to see black students be treated the way that they’re being treated,” said NSU junior, India El, who helped organize the event.

“It’s 2015 and none of this should be happening, and a lot of us don’t understand why it’s still happening. All of us have to understand that we need to persevere and stay strong and to protect each other and to be there for one another,” said NSU senior Quiana Sanders.

Students also gathered at Hampton University for a demonstration Thursday, shouting, “Hampton U for Mizzou!”

Meanwhile Thursday, the University of Missouri’s governing board appointed an interim president, who vowed to address the frustrations behind student-led protests.

Sixty-eight-year-old Michael Middleton is taking over for Tim Wolfe, who abruptly resigned Monday amid student-led protests over his administration’s handling of racial complaints. The campus’ chancellor R. Bowen Loftin also announced Monday he is stepping down at the end of the year.

Middleton has spent 30 years at the university, as a student, faculty member and administrator.