Change for the University of Missouri
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. – Nelson Mandela
The color of someone’s skin should not be used as a mechanism for hatred. Instead, it should be the reason that all Americans unite and fight
against racial inequalities. This past week at the University of Missouri, students have been protesting against ongoing racism occurring on campus. Recently, it was nationalized when 30 black football players announced they were not participating in team activities. Stating, “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!!!!” Their reasoning? Over the last month, students of color have complained about being bombarded with racial slurs and acts of racial discrimination occurring on the campus, and finding that no actions were being taken to address their concerns.
On this campus, there is approximately 35,000 students. The undergraduate population is 79 percent white and 8 percent black. Adding, the state is 83 percent white and nearly 12 percent black. The campus is about 120 miles west of Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb where tension erupted over the death shooting of the black unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown by a white police officer last year. During the student’s homecoming festivities, the black students reaching their breaking point, decided to take a stance against blatant disrespect. On October 10th, during the homecoming parade, the students rallied together and decided to block ,the president of the university, Wolfe’s, car. He did not get out, nor did he address them and their concerns. In fact, the protesters were eventually moved by the police. On that same night, the black members of the football team, along with their fellow teammates and coaches joined in the stance against racial injustice by boycotting the game. It was such a strong statement, that on Sunday lawmakers of the state were fully attentive to their fight.
That very night, President Wolfe, who gave no sign of stepping down, released the statement, “change is needed” along with his contingency plan of having the university collaborate to promote diversity and tolerance that would take effect by April.
Of course, that was not the answer or response that some faculty and students were needing to hear. After learning, that their president was not actively pursuing change the students were forced to protest for their cause.
Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it. Wherever found, against the wrong. – Theodore Roosevelt
The protests were led and organized by a group called, Concerned Student 1950. Their name came from the year the university accepted its first black student. Along with standing behind President Wolfe’s car during the homecoming parade, they have been holding a sit-in on a campus plaza since Monday. The Protests was call of action for the university to address and prevent incidents such as, black students being called racial slurs by individuals passing by in a pickup truck, or dormitory bathrooms being painted with a swastika drawn in feces.
Someone who has been passionate about justice for all, and especially for blacks is, Jonathan Butler, a black graduate student and member of Concerned Student 1950. In fact, he was dedicated to the cause that vowed not to eat until President Wolfe is gone. He began his hunger strike on November 2nd to call attention to racial problems at the state’s flagship university.
Concerned Student 1950 has demanded, among other things, that Wolfe “acknowledge his white male privilege,” that he be removed immediately, and that the school adopt a mandatory racial-awareness program and hire more black faculty and staff.
On Monday, November 9, 2015, the Board of Curators held a special meeting that lead to President Wolfe publicly announcing his resignation.
Justice has been done. – Barack Obama
By: Johnerio Scott