It’s part of a complicated story, still unfolding. It begins with a series of racist incidents over the past few weeks, including a swastika on the wall. (Some folks are doubtful that it ever happened.) Then students began protesting that the President and Chancellor of the university were not doing enough to address the issue. One went on a hunger strike. Eventually a group of black football players joined the protests and refused to play football. Some faculty walked out. Shortly thereafter, the President and Chancellor resigned.
Then protests continued. It’s not clear why, or whether the protesters have any stated goal. There was harassment and threats towards journalists and students who were trying to take videos of the protests. One professor who attacked a student journalist has now resigned.
“After the announcement of the resignations, there was a widely publicized dispute between photojournalist Tim Tai and protesters in the main Carnahan Quad, where they had erected an encampment. While attempting to cover the event on a freelance assignment for ESPN, he got into a debate and was physically confronted by students and those who would later be identified as University of Missouri staff and faculty…The day after the incident, with Tai getting support from the Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and others, ConcernedStudent1950 came out with a flyer reversing their stance, and acknowledging the first amendment rights of the media to be in the public lawn.”
This feels like one of those incidents where people want a reasonable thing - privacy so they can work through an important issue - but that reasonable thing is not allowed in a democratic society. I have sympathy for both sides, but the students and faculty were fundamentally in the wrong.
But they had an encampment in the middle of the quad - one of the most public areas on a college campus. There are ways for organizations to get privacy - like having their faculty member sign out a classroom - demanding privacy in the middle of a public area is just idiocy.
I still don’t understand what the students want or what the university president did that he should have resigned over. It seems that a handful of racially charged incidents happened. He condemned the actions and if the perps are caught, they will face university sanctions.
Suppose I am the new university president and fully support the students. What steps would they like me to take that would satisfy them? They simply seem to be against “racism” which 99% of people are already against. I’m not sure what their exact issues are.
I was totally baffled by their antipathy towards the media, so I asked my father, who has some solid credentials as an aging hippie who spent much of his college-age years attending protests. His immediate response: “Well, yeah. You want them to see your protest but if you at all think there may be retribution, or you have a scholarship, or anything like that, you don’t want your face on the front page of the student paper.”
I’m not entirely sure how that applies to this particular situation, but I can see how it would generate some reluctance to have the press in the middle of things, rather than on the outskirts.
This of course begs the question is he one of those kooky old hippies who entertains a lot of conspiracy theories; or, does he have any actual factual evidence that a) any of these particular students would have such concern or b) any student anywhere lost a scholarship for protesting something.
Can you read? I said I don’t know how it applies in this particular situation. Regardless, I don’t think that the leap from “Gosh, this student was on the front page of the newspaper calling the university administration a bunch of racists” to “therefore maybe we won’t renew their scholarship for next year” requires being a kook. Nor do I think it requires any great leap that a university student may have some non-need-based financial aid.