Two Mizzou Students give Perspective on Ongoing Racial Discrimination at University

Courtesy of VOA News

After numerous incidents of racism and discrimination on campus, Johnathan Butler, a Graduate student at MU set out on a seven-day hunger strike. The hunger strike was a result of the lack of response from the MU leadership system.

Two MU African American students discussed their opinions on the events that had transpired. The two students would like to stay anonymous and be referred to as the trending hashtag #ConcernedStudent1950. This hashtag represents the year African Americans were admitted to the University.

Q: How do you feel about Jonathan Butler risking his life to promote change?

A: (ConcerenedStudent1950 #1) “I support why he did it but I didn’t support him risking his life. I feel he could have done it in a different way but I’m glad he still alive and everything worked out."

Q: As a minority on campus do you fear of being discriminated against?

A: (ConcernedStudent1950 #2) “Not at all. I know that there are racist people on campus, I knew that before I came here. I’m not afraid to be discriminated against it isn’t something that I would say is expected but very possible. I would notify the police most likely if the situation did occur." 

Q: What is the atmosphere on campus now that the President has resigned?

A: (ConcernedStudent1950 #2) “Everyone for the most part is in an uplifted mood. We know that we can’t be too happy about what’s going on because there are plenty more steps to take. We are happy but we are not going to be overzealous about it.”

Q: In what ways did you contribute to the protesting and how did it affect you?

A: (ConcernedStudent1950 #1) “I was active with the marches that took place on campus. I was also a part of the night prayers and was a male presence for girls that didn’t feel comfortable walking by themselves. I definitely supported the movement and it felt good to be a part of history.”

Butler and several students stopped President Tim Wolfe’s car during their Homecoming Parade demanding answers for their numerous concerns. Wolfe had no response and while backing up, Wolfe’s driver hit Butler. The incident brought to light the larger issues of racism that students were facing on MU’s campus.

Mizzou students were furious that Wolfe was not addressing the problems occurring on campus. Some of those incidents were, the Missouri Student Association President Payton Head being called the N-word and a swastika drawn with human feces in a MU dormitory. All of these occurrences and the lack of Wolfe addressing these matters lead to him resigning on Monday.

While minority students at the University of Missouri continue to fight for justice, their efforts do not fall by the wayside. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr once stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This quote is a true representation of what is being seen all across the nation.

Historically Black Colleges or Universities from all around are coming together to show their support for Mizzou students. Schools such as: Xavier University, Oakwood University, Howard University, and Florida A&M University are administering a blackout to show solidarity. The hashtag #collegeblackout is trending all over social media in support of this cause.

Antonelli Jean-Guillaume a second-year FAMU political science student from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., stated, “I am definitely glad that students at FAMU are supporting the blackout. We are one of the most famous HBCUs so we should be at the forefront showing solidarity for MU students.”

He added, “I definitely believe that students at academic Universities should feel like they can put pressure on their leaders. These students are the ones getting the education, they’re paying for it so I believe that the blackout is a great physical representation that there is a problem that needs to be fixed.” 

Johnathan Butler and the student body’s efforts and courage brought the underlying occurrences of discrimination and racism to the forefront. Although their efforts were able to remove the president, they still face underlying issues from the past.