Forum discusses Missouri campus 2 years after protestsNovember 14, 2017 8:30pm

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Two years after protests over racial discrimination rocked the University of Missouri-Columbia, participants at a forum said progress has been made but that efforts to educate people about the issues raised during the demonstrations must continue.

Missouri System President Mun Choi, Board of Curators Chairman Maurice Graham and other university officials were among about 200 people who attended the forum Monday, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported . It was sponsored by the Department of Black Studies.

Stephanie Shonekan, chairwoman of the department, said the forum highlighted changes made since the 2015 protests led to the resignations of then-System President Tim Wolfe and then-Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and drew national attention to the school. The protests included a hunger strike by a graduate student and the school's football team threatening not to play a game unless administrators addressed issues raised by the demonstrations.

She said even Choi's presence was progress, noting that Wolfe angered many protesters while president with his slow response to their concerns and by ignoring them when they blocked his car during a homecoming parade.

The resignations of Wolfe and Loftin were condemned by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, who predicted they would "set something in motion that is going to be a disaster for a long period of time."

"Our role also on this campus is to serve as the intellectual side of black life at the University of Missouri," Shonekan said during the forum. "Tonight we want to talk about how far we have come. And we wanted to push back against the other president who said we would be a disaster. We have not been a disaster. He's wrong."

Keynote speaker Marshall Allen, who was part of the Concerned Student 1950 group that led the protests, said problems still remain. He cited recently enacted speech codes that were seen as a response to the 2015 demonstrations, after protesters demonstrated at the financial aid office and in the office of interim Vice Chancellor Chuck Henson. The codes prohibit entering offices with vital university records, protests in or outside of official meetings and camping on campus.

"The reason why we can claim these (speech codes) and promote these as reactionary is because each of these have direct correlation to the events and activities that occurred in the fall of 2015," Allen said.

He noted that last week when white demonstrators quietly unfurled signs asking the university to divest from fossil fuel companies, Choi and Graham spoke to them and reaffirmed the school's commitment to free speech.

"Who exactly do these policies apply to?" Allen asked.

After the forum, Choi pledged the policies on protests will apply to all students and faculty "regardless of their background or experience."

The forum was proof that the university wants to address continuing issues of diversity, said Johanna Milord, a doctoral student in counseling psychology. She attended a different school in 2015 and said the Missouri protests as well as national demonstrations over blacks being killed by police were barely discussed there.

"I think that this is a place where the conversation is happening and that is more than I have been exposed to in the past," Milord said.


Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune,

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

In this Nov. 14, 2017, photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An FBI report on black “extremists” is stirring fears of a return to a time when the agency notoriously spied on civil rights groups. An FBI report on black “extremists” is stirring fears of a return to a time when the agency notoriously spied on civil rights groups. Sessions, a former Alabama senator whose career has been dogged by questions about race and his commitment to civil rights, did not ease lawmakers’ concerns when he was unable to answer questions about the report or its origins during the hearing. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
FBI report on black 'extremists' raises new monitoring fears
FILE - In this Friday Nov. 3, 2017 file photo, Katrina Johnson becomes emotional at the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk, Iowa after the jury returned a guilty verdict for Jorge Sanders-Galvez in the death of Johnson's transgender child, 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson. At least 25 transgender Americans have been homicide victims as of mid-November 2017, the highest annual total this decade, according to advocacy groups that have been monitoring the grim phenomenon and seeking ways to reduce the toll. (John Lovretta/The Hawk Eye via AP, Pool)
Advocacy groups: Killings of transgender people increase
Congress paid $17 million in workplace violation settlementsThe federal Office of Compliance has paid more than $17 million over the last 20 years to resolve claims of sexual harassment and other workplace violations filed by employees of Congress
FILE - In this April 18, 2015, file photo, Beijing lawyer Wang Yu speaks during an interview in Beijing. The teenage son of Wang has been blocked from leaving the country, forcing him to set aside plans to study in Australia, his father says. Wang was detained in a nationwide roundup of lawyers and other activists on July 9, 2015, then released but placed under close surveillance in Inner Mongolia and only recently allowed to return to Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
Human rights repression in China seen worsening under Xi
Greek island calls strike against EU refugee policyAuthorities on Greece's island of Lesbos have called a strike and are urging residents to take part in anti-government protests to press for a change a European Union policy of containment of refugees and migrants on Greek islands
White nationalist rally organizer loses Twitter verificationThe organizer of the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has lost his verified status on Twitter, along with several other prominent white nationalists and far-right conservatives
This component is currently unavailable.

Related Searches

Related Searches