SU Students Stand in Solidarity with Mizzou

On Thursday, November 12th, Seattle University students, faculty, and staff braced the cold wind to gather together in solidarity with black students at the University of Missouri, who are facing discrimination and threats on their campus. While issues have been brewing for a long time, the racism and discrimination present at the university are only just now gaining national attention. 

Background

Since the events of last year in Ferguson, Missouri, racial tensions have been escalating at the University of Missouri (commonly known as Mizzou). Various racially charged incidents have occurred in the past year, including a first-year student drawing a swastika in a stairwell in April and a group of male students yelling racial slurs at the student body president in September. These actions have been met with little response from the university’s administration. This lack of response was clearly illuminated at Mizzou’s homecoming parade in October, when student activist group, Concerned Student 1950, protested the lack of action being taken on campus to combat racism and prejudice in front of university president Tim Wolfe’s car. The protestors were met with a silent Wolfe and a largely angry crowd.

On October 20th, Concerned Student 1950 put out a list of demands. One of the main demands of the students was the resignation of Wolfe, and an apology to the protestors for his actions, or lack thereof, at the homecoming parade. Additional demands included the addition of more black faculty and staff and more racial awareness education for students and faculty on campus. Other students have expressed concerns to the university and taken action to encourage a response from the administration. On November 2nd, a graduate student began a hunger strike and on November 7th, the black athletes on the Missouri football team boycotted playing, all until Wolfe resigned or was fired.

Wolfe announced his resignation on Monday, November 9th, however the issue did not end there. Many of the student protestors have faced significant backlash following their actions. Many people responded to their actions via social media – primarily the anonymous app, Yik Yak. Many people showed their support for Wolfe through the app, while others posted blatantly racist and offensive comments. Even more concerning, though, were the violent threats many students were receiving online, which caused many members of Concerned Student 1950 and other students of color to fear for their safety on campus.

While the news coverage of the events in Missouri has been decreasing lately, the issues are still ever-present in daily life at the university as students continue to advocate and fight for progress and change despite constant criticism.

Standing In Solidarity

Seattle University is one of many colleges across the country to voice its support for the black students at the University of Missouri. On Thursday, students at universities throughout the United States stood in solidarity with Mizzou.

The event at SU was hosted by the Seattle University Black Student Union and was intended to illuminate students, faculty, staff, and community members on what is happening in Missouri, to call people to pay attention to the issues that are present here at SU, and to speak out against injustices anywhere they exist. The student activists made it clear that it is our responsibility, whether it be as people of color or as allies, to remain in solidarity with the students at the University of Missouri as they face threats from their community and to remain aware of the problems within our own community and how we can prevent them.

(Photo courtesy of su.snaps)