The situation that continues to unfold on the campus of the University of Missouri has intensified, with calls for violence against Black students and the arrest of a pair of suspects accused of issuing online threats. Since Mizzou President Tim Wolfe‘s resignation on Monday, a series of racist and hate-fueled acts have reached the media.
Although the town of Columbia has gained a reputation for being one of few progressive cities in the Deep South and an attractive city for young families, racial tensions at Mizzou have been brewing behind the scenes for months. Everything came to a head on Oct. 24, when a swastika made from excrement was painted on a dorm wall, sparking a hunger strike protest by Black graduate student Jonathan Butler.
The contrast in Mizzou’s student body between those of liberal and conservative backgrounds has remained stark and split the school into two campuses. Even more telling is that the school’s Black students only make up 7 percent of enrollees, which points directly to the protests that have ignited in the past few weeks. These students feel marginalized in an environment where they should feel as if they’re a significant part of the community. But since Wolfe stepped down, the following incidents confirm their concerns.
Student Government President Lashes Out Against Racism & Anti-Gay Stances
— Nia Powell (@nia_powell17) September 13, 2015
Mizzou Student Government President Payton Head, a gay Black man, took to Facebook back on Sept. 12 to lash out against what he observed as racist and anti-gay occurrences on campus grounds. Head claims he experienced and witnessed bigotry “multiple times.” The post was shared extensively on social media, but it is now locked from public view. Nearly two weeks later, students were galvanized by Head’s post and kicked off protests to call attention to the concerns raised.
Students Insulted By Drunken White Student Days After ‘Racism Lives Here’ Rally
On Oct. 1, students held a “Racism Lives Here” rally, which included around 40 Black and White students marching through MU’s Student Center in solidarity. On Oct. 4, days after the rally, a drunken White student called members of the Legion of Black Collegians a racial slur when they asked him to leave a homecoming planning session. Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin addressed the matter in a statement and ordered diversity and inclusion training for the faculty and students on Oct. 8.
Concerned Student 1950 Group Demands Are Ignored
On Oct. 20, the student group, Concerned Student 1950, named after the year Mizzou first accepted Black students, put forth a list of demands. Chief among them was the resignation of President Wolfe. There was no response from faculty. Days later, the swastika incident took place. Two days after that event, Wolfe met with the group, but would not yield to their demands.
Online Threats Toward Black Students Surface, Lead To Arrest
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 11, 2015
Earlier in the week, threats made against Black students surfaced via the anonymous app Yik Yak. On Wednesday, police arrested 19-year-old Hunter Park for making terroristic threats. Park, a student at a sister campus in the town of Rolla, threatened to shoot Black people.
Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center Vandalized
— Richmond Voice (@RichmondVoice) November 12, 2015
Just after Mizzou named former Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton as its interim president, the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center was vandalized. The world “Black” was spray-painted in an attempt to erase it from the signage. The university says it is investigating the matter. The Center is named for civil rights activists Lloyd Gaines and Mary O’Fallon Oldham.
SOURCE: CNN, Twitter | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform
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