A look the University of Missouri’s issues
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Racially charged incidents at the University of Missouri have led to numerous protests, a hunger strike by a graduate student and at least 30 black football players announcing they were on strike – with all of them calling for the president of the four-campus system to be removed. Here’s a look at the situation:
The treatment of minorities has been the focus at the state system’s flagship campus in Columbia, and campus groups, including one called Concerned Student 1950, that have been protesting the way President Tim Wolfe has handled matters of race and discrimination. The 35,000-student population is overwhelmingly white.
The football players issued a statement aligning themselves with campus groups, and on Sunday, coach Gary Pinkel expressing solidarity on Twitter by posting a picture of the team and coaches locking arms. His tweet read: "The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players."
Wolfe responded to the criticisms Sunday, saying that it "is clear to all of us that change is needed" and adding that his administration has been "meeting around the clock" to address the issue. The statement, however, made no mention of Wolfe resigning.
The protests began early in the semester after Missouri’s student government president, who is black, said he was called a racial slur by the occupant of a passing pickup truck while walking on campus. Days before the Oct. 10 homecoming parade, members of the Legions of Black Collegians said racial slurs were directed at them by an unidentified person walking by. And a swastika drawn in feces was found recently in a dormitory bathroom.
THE MAJOR PLAYERS
Wolfe, a former software company executive and 1980 Missouri graduate, began leading the four-campus system in February 2012.
Concerned Student 1950 draws its name from the year the university accepted its first black student, and has demanded, among other things, that Wolfe "acknowledge his white male privilege" and that he be removed immediately, as well as that the school adopt a mandatory racial-awareness program and hire more black faculty and staff members.
Jonathan Butler, a black graduate student, began a hunger strike Monday. An organizer with Concerned Student 1950 said Sunday that Butler’s body is "reacting as anybody’s body would" after a week.
The issue is expected to be a major source of questions Monday during Pinkel’s weekly news conference. Football players are routinely available to the media after Pinkel speaks.