Students, faculty and members of the MU community gathered Tuesday for a panel discussion about the university’s role in working to end apartheid in South Africa. In the 1980s, students successfully pushed the MU board of curators to divest from American companies doing business in South Africa.
Kathryn Benson, who was heavily involved in the 1980s movement, said protestors built and occupied shantytowns on Francis Quadrangle after traditional protests failed. Benson said students took turns occupying the shanties from October 1986 through February of 1987.
“We found ways to force people to think about it,” Benson said. “Because a successful movement is not one that’s going to operate within the accepted parameters. It just doesn’t work.”
Currently, the Mizzou Energy Action Coalition is urging the university to divest from coal and fossil fuel companies. Alexandra Krus, a member of Mizzou Energy Action Coalition, said that it might need to reconsider its approach. She said they have sat in on meetings, written letters to the board of curators and reached out to MSA, but haven’t had as much progress as she would like.
“In my opinion we need more demonstrations,” Krus said. “We need to show the university that we are not going to follow the conventional rules to get what we need, which is to be 100 percent on clean and renewable energy.”
Krus said Tuesday’s discussion has changed her outlook for the organization moving forward.