University of Missouri Racism Protest Update – Some Mizzou professors are threatening to walk off the job and join the Concerned Student 1950 protest and calls for President Tim Wolfe to step down.
University of Missouri racism claims and protests went viral over the weekend after 30 black football players announced they will not practice or play until university president Tim Wolfe is removed from office.
For several months, University of Missouri black student groups have protested the racial slurs allegedly used by some white students, as well as several other alleged acts of discriminatory behavior, on the campus. The majority of the 35,000 student population is white, according to MSN.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 9, 2015
The 30 black members of the University of Missouri football team participating in the walkout want Tim Wolfe removed as the leader of the four-college system, Fox News notes. Refusing to engage in team activities could invalidate the players’ scholarships.
ICYMI: Group of black Missouri players will not participate in football activity until university president resigns. https://t.co/xXa23xvmWj
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 8, 2015
One of the incidents cited by the protesters and one black student, Jonathan Butler, who went on a hunger strike to call attention to their cause, was a Swastika drawn on a dorm wall in feces. The protests began after someone in a pickup truck driving down the road allegedly yelled a racial slur against a black member of the student government. Exactly how an unkind exercise of freedom of speech by an unknown individual is something Wolfe should be blamed for remains unclear.
The racial tensions came to a head during the university homecoming parade on October 10. Protesters blocked the car carrying Tim Wolfe after he refused to exit the vehicle and speak with them. The protesters were ultimately removed by the police.
A sit-in was organized on the University of Missouri campus on Sunday, prompting politicians to weigh in on the racism allegations. A special meeting of the university system’s governing body has been scheduled to occur sometime today.
In a statement released by the university president, Wolfe did not indicate he was at all interested in stepping down from his post but noted that “change is needed” on the campus.
The University of Missouri football team has three games remaining on its regular season schedule. The team will play Brigham Young University on Saturday. Canceling the game due to a lack of players could reportedly cost the school more than $1 million.
“The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere,'” the players said in a statement. “We will no longer participate in any football related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experience. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!”
Football coach Gary Pinkel appeared to express a sense of solidarity with the 30 black players in a Twitter post.
Pinkel shared an image of the players and coaches locking arms with text that read, “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players.”
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 9, 2015
Practice and other team activities were canceled Sunday, Pinkel and Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades said in a joint statement. The statement linked the return of the protesting football players to the end of a hunger strike by a black graduate student who began the effort November 2 and has vowed to not eat until Wolfe is gone.
“Our focus right now is on the health of Jonathan Butler, the concerns of our student-athletes and working with our community to address this serious issue,” a statement issued by University of Missouri Athletic Director Mack Rhoades and Coach Pinkel said.
The student group, Concerned Student 1950, has been the leader of many of the campus protests. The group got its name from the year the college allowed the first black student to enroll. The #ConcernedStudent1950 hashtag has gone viral on Twitter.
— S. Paredes Scribner (@smpscrib) November 9, 2015
During the Mizzou president removal protest on Sunday, two pickup trucks flying Confederate Flags allegedly drove by the event, a move attendees deemed an attempt to intimidate the crowd.
The Concerned Student 1950 group is calling for campus walkouts on Monday and Tuesday and is demanding that Tim Wolfe “acknowledge his white male privilege.” The protesters also want the school to make a racial awareness program mandatory for all students. They also want more black staff and faculty to be hired on campus.
Abigail Hollis, a University of Missouri black undergrad, said the campus is both “unhealthy” and “unsafe” for minority students.
“The way white students are treated is in stark contrast to the way black students and other marginalized students are treated, and it’s time to stop that,” Hollis added. “It’s 2015.”
The undergraduate population on campus is approximately 80 percent white and 8 percent black. In the state, the population is about 83 percent white and almost 12 percent black.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) said the university must address the racism concerns of students and work to ensure the campus boasts an environment of “respect, tolerance and inclusion.” Senator Claire McCaskill said a “clear message’ must be sent by the Tim Wolfe administration so students know that racism will be addressed.
The choice of words and vehicle adornments by University of Missouri students and the community are protected by the First Amendment — even if such choices are deemed offensive. Unless the individuals who allegedly uttered racial slurs and flew the Confederate Flag threatened black students engaged in any other type of illegal behavior, their speech and freedom of expression cannot be criminalized by the university.
How do you feel about the University of Missouri racism claims and the call for Tim Wolfe to acknowledge his white privilege and step down?
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