Racial tensions at University of Missouri

By Heather Nelson

If you haven’t been following the goings on in Columbia, Mo., there’s a very important story that’s been going on for quite some time now. Across the border from my Alma Mater (where we pride ourselves as the Free State, see: Bleeding Kansas) there’s been turmoil caused by racial tensions.

A number of racist incidents have gone unnoticed/unpunished by the University. Jonathan Butler, a graduate student at the University, went on a hunger strike on November 2. He said that he wouldn’t end his strike until the University’s president resigned, even if that meant death. This weekend the Missouri football team backed the members of Concerned Student of 1950, a student group named for the first year a black graduate student was admitted to the University, by going on strike. On Monday, faculty showed support for students via walk out. Not much later, Tom Wolfe, the University’s president, stepped down.

The football team most likely played a major role in creating a decision. The University of Missouri would’ve lost $1M if the game this weekend in Kansas City wouldn’t have been played. So, unfortunately, I think the administration made the decision to have Wolfe step down because of monetary reasons. But, if sports really have this large of an impact, I hope it continues to be used to create a positive influence. Sports can be used to bring people together to rally behind a common cause, such as this one.

Side note: For me, the death of a student would’ve been enough to make me admit my faults and leave my position as president.

To read more about the events check out the links I provided below:

From The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/11/whats-happening-at-the-university-of-missouri/414870/?utm_source=SFTwitter

From the Columbia Missourian: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/higher_education/racial-climate-at-mu-a-timeline-of-incidents-to-date/article_0c96f986-84c6-11e5-a38f-2bd0aab0bf74.html

From the Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-missouri-football-players-president-20151109-story.html