Last November, the University of Missouri was rocked by protests led by black student group Concerned Student 1950. The group of 11 students captured campus attention with its message that university administrators were not doing enough to address racism on campus.
One graduate student began a hunger strike that he said could end in one of two ways: with then-UM System President Tim Wolfe’s resignation, or with the protester’s death by starvation. The story went national when the MU football team announced a boycott in support of the hunger striker. In quick succession, Wolfe resigned and former MU Chancellor R Bowen Loftin stepped down, unleashing a fresh storm of criticism and debate.
How did the University of Missouri get to this point? And how might its path forward navigate the complex landscapes of university funding, policies and staffing, student demands and Missouri politics? That’s what we’re exploring in our special three part series, Mizzou at a Crossroads. In part one, we examine the history of racial issues and student demonstrations at MU, because to understand how we got here, it helps to look back. Then we'll hear a conversation between a black MU student activist from the late 1960’s and a member of the present-day Concerned Student 1950.