Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Activism Going Strong at Mizzou, Students Critical of Top Leadership

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Activism Going Strong at Mizzou, Students Critical of Top Leadership

Article excerpt

What could be described as the autumn of discontent at the University of Missouri-Columbia continued on Thursday as a group calling itself Concerned Student 1950 marched through campus, a few hundred deep, calling for systemic changes in leadership and how the university is run.

In addition, there's a group of students boycotting university dining and retail services, one student's hunger strike, dozens of aggrieved graduate students and controversy over the school's relationship with Planned Parenthood.

Of all the turmoil currently going on, what has gotten the most attention is the hunger strike graduate student Jonathan Butler embarked on at 9 a.m. Monday.

Butler, who is pursuing a master's degree in educational leadership and policy analysis, has promised to forgo all food and nutrition until University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe steps down.

Butler is making a case that the buck stops with Wolfe the man in charge of overseeing the University of Missouri's network of campuses in St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City and Rolla.

Specifically, Butler has criticized Wolfe for inaction after a series of racial incidents on campus, dating to last fall.

More recently, student body president Payton Head, who is black, said he was walking down a street one day in September when a group of men driving by yelled racial slurs at him repeatedly.

In October, a black student group said they were confronted by a man in Traditions Plaza on campus who used a racial slur.

Also last month, someone used human feces to draw a swastika in a bathroom inside Mizzou's Gateway Hall.

Students first confronted Wolfe on Oct. 10 by blocking his car during Mizzou's homecoming parade. The hunger strike and the boycott followed closely behind.

UM System spokesman John Fougere said on Thursday that Wolfe has met with Butler, members of Concerned Students 1950 and others to hear their complaints. …

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