I think there is perhaps one point of agreement regarding Mizzou’s recent turmoil; we made the national news! I have tried to explore all sides and listen to opposing viewpoints. I have read news accounts, watched videos, and skimmed through twitter feeds and blogs from students, faculty, alums and trolls. Truly, if you don’t believe racism is a problem, scroll through a few … yikes.
People from all sides have made valid points. I understand that a large percentage of minority students feel marginalized at an institutional level. I also agree with opposing views that the two individuals forced to leave are not the origin of the problem, nor will their departure be the solution.
Some students are stating that the protesters “don’t have the right” to assemble on campus, voice their opinions and disrupt classes. Some protestors don’t think the media has the right to cover the story. When I was a student at Mizzou, there was a freshman government class required for all students. Is that not done anymore? The protestors and their detractors all need to revisit the first amendment, which they surely should know guarantees the right to assembly, free speech and freedom of the press. The communications professor calling for “muscle” to try to stop a student photographer is possibly the most disconcerting event of the day. Please note: she is NOT J school faculty! Watch here to see stupidity in action. (If you can’t sit through all of it, the best/worst part is near the end.)
No, Mizzou as an institution will never be able to stop an idiot from shouting a racial slur, or keep a drunken freshman from drawing a swastika on a dorm wall (with feces, no less, what does this say about the person?). Mizzou can, however, listen to students who feel disenfranchised, and make positive changes. I would find it hard to disagree with many of the protestors’ demands. Increasing the percentage of minorities on staff, expanding the counseling services and including minority therapists, as well as having some sort of diversity awareness and training for all students, faculty and staff; these are all legitimate suggestions for positive change.
And as I read blogs like this, I also think we need to institute a freshman remedial grammar class, perhaps bundled with the diversity training.