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, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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 Jan. 3, 2006 file photo, New York State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt speaks with supporters during a news conference in Buffalo, N.Y. Lisa Marie Cater, 51, says in court papers filed Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, that Hoyt sexually harassed and assaulted her. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)
Woman says she was harassed by New York state employee
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 27, 1996 file photo, Rev. Jesse Jackson waits while his son, Jesse Jackson Jr., introduces him to delegates at the United Center in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Jesse Jackson's decades in public eye shaped by many roles
Missouri approves using pigs for research, despite protestsThe University of Missouri says it will continue to use live pigs to train emergency room doctors, despite protests
Man freed from death row blames conviction on racial biasA man freed from Louisiana's death row claims his case was corrupted by a biased autopsy and a prosecutor's racism and religious fervor
In this photo taken on Nov. 12, 2017, Poland's ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski,right, and Leszlaw Piszewski, the president of the Jewish communities of Poland, pose for a photo during a meeting in Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw prosecutors have opened an investigation Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 into expressions of xenophobia and racism voiced during a march by far-right nationalists earlier this month. (AP Photo)
Polish prosecutors open racism probe of far-right march
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices