The University of Missouri is in the news for a host of reasons this week, but while the tactics of its activists have left many confused, what they want is crystal clear.
Black activist group Concerned Student 1950 released a list of eight demands late last month, and they've gone viral on the internet following the resignation of the university's president and a controversial video where a crowd of protestors physically denied journalists their First Amendment right to document events in a public space.
The first of those demands required a “handwritten” apology from President Tim Wolfe that included:
Tim Wolfe must acknowledge his white male privilege, recognize that systems of oppression exist, and provide a verbal commitment to fulfilling Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demands.
With Wolfe's exit yesterday, the following demands are still on the table. You can judge for yourself whether they are fair:
2) A new amendment to the UM system policies must be established to have all future UM system president and Chancellor positions be selected by a collective of students, staff, and faculty of diverse backgrounds.
3) We demand that the University of Missouri meets the Legion of Black Collegians’ demands that were presented in the 1969 for the betterment of the black community.
4) We demand that the University of Missouri creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, mandatory for all students, faculty, staff and administration. This curriculum must be vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board comprised of students, staff and faculty of color.
5) We demand that by the academic year 2017-18, the University of Missouri increases the percentage of black faculty and staff members campus-wide by 10 percent.
According to Missouri's website, about 7% of enrollment in fall of 2014 was black, while just 3.25% of faculty was black. Missouri will have an uphill climb to reach those numbers by the fall of 2017.
The demands continue:
6) We demand that the University of Missouri composes a strategic 10-year plan on May, 1 2016 that will increase retention rates for marginalized students, sustain diversity curriculum and training, and promote a more safe and inclusive campus.
7) We demand that the University of Missouri increases funding and resources for the University of Missouri Counseling Center for the purpose of hiring additional mental health professionals, particularly those of color, boosting mental health outreach and programming across campus, increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility of the counseling center, and reducing lengthy wait times for prospective clients.
8) We demand that the University of Missouri increases funding, resources and personnel for the social justice centers on campus for the purpose of hiring additional professionals, particularly those of color, boosting outreach and programming across campus and increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility.
The University of Missouri was founded in 1839 and served more than 35,000 students during the 2014 academic year.
Campus administrators are trying to serve all the students at the public university, and that's more difficult in an era of declining state support and skyrocketing student debt.