Many welcomed the move of the University of Missouri’s president who resigned after protests over his handling of racial tensions on campus.
COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 9, 2015) (NBC) – Many students welcomed the move of the University of Missouri’s president who stepped down on Monday
(November 9) from his post after protests by the school’s football team and other students over what they saw as soft handling of reports of racial abuse on campus.
Protests on campus had been led by a group called ConcernedStudent1950, which says black students have endured racial slurs and believes white students benefit from favoritism in many aspects of campus life.
The group, which takes its name from the year the university first admitted black students, on Monday demanded an immediate meeting with the university’s faculty council, Board of Curators and the governor of Missouri to discuss shared governance of the school.
“While today may seem bright to some, this is just a beginning in dismantling systems of oppression in higher education, specifically the UM system,” Marshall Allen, a member of the group, told more than 500 people gathered on campus.
Unrest at the university, widely known as “Mizzou,” started on September 12, when Payton Head, president of the Missouri Students Association, said on his Facebook page that he was repeatedly racially abused on campus by someone riding in a pickup truck.
His post went viral, and the lack of any strong reaction by Wolfe led to demonstrations at the school’s homecoming parade the following month, when protesters blocked the university president’s car, according to local news reports.
Later that month, a swastika drawn in feces was found at a university dorm building, according to the Residence Halls Association.
Protests reached a critical point this weekend when the university’s black football players refused to practice or play until Wolfe stepped down, and some teachers and students threatened to boycott classes.
A majority of the approximately 35,000 students at the university in Columbia, about 125 miles (200 km) west of St. Louis, is white.
Total enrollment at the university is 35,488, according to the school’s website, including undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Last year, in the school’s most recent figures available, about 7 percent of students were black.
Racial tensions in Missouri flared last year when a white policeman in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson killed an unarmed young black man and a grand jury brought no charges against the officer. The shooting kindled nationwide soul-searching and protests about the treatment of blacks by law enforcement.
Racial tensions have dogged other American schools as well recently.