Concerned Student 1950 protests Working Group

Chuck Henson in response to the protest: “We are moving forward, and the point of the Working Group is to move forward together.”

Three member of Concerned Student 1950 lead the demonstration held on March 7. Each of these students as well as their following chanted "We will be alright" as they marched throughout campus.

Concerned Student 1950 protested MU’s continual lack of administrative action to end systemic racism on March 7.

“The Working Group ain’t working,” Concerned Student 1950 organizers and supporters said through megaphones as they marched throughout campus.

Concerned Student 1950 leaders said the Working Group, interim Vice Chancellor Chuck Henson’s initiative to improve campus culture, has been passive.

Henson released a video via Twitter at 2:27 p.m. addressing the protest.

“The Working Group is working and the protest that happened on our campus today was unfair and might leave a wrong impression about the amount of progress that we have made with the climate on our campus,” Henson said in the video. “We are moving forward and the point of the Working Group is to move forward together.”

The Working Group has only met three times, which isn’t enough time to assess process, Henson said in the video.

“Everybody who comes to the Working Group needs to come with an attitude of patience and extend grace to the process and to each other because we’re dealing with issues that took more than 100 years to develop here and is certainly going to take more than 100 days and three meetings to address,” Henson said in the video. “The idea is to build up relationships because that’s how the work gets done.”

Concerned Student organizer Brianna Kato said since the Working Group has been established, Concerned Student 1950 has been sitting and listening for it to take action, and that is not what Concerned Student is on campus to do.

“We are not tolerating it any longer,” Kato said. “We don’t get the chance to discuss issues, our demands have not been met, and until then, we will continue to fight,” Kato said. “We are not trying to work with (MU administrators) on theses decisions, we are here to dismantle this fucked up system.”

Henson, the interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity, announced the group on Feb, 17.

“The Working Group is not a town hall,” Henson said in a statement introducing the Working Group. “It is a group including me, members of the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, and student leaders campus-wide. The Working Group is keeping students apprised of the various activities of my office. Simultaneously, I am depending on these students to offer constructive criticism and ideas. In this way, together we are transforming our culture.”

Concerned Student 1950 organizers and supporters met at the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center and marched through the Student Center, Memorial Union, Speakers Circle, Jesse Hall and Traditions Plaza.

They tried to enter the Office of the Chancellor, but it was locked.

Video courtesy of MUTV

Henson then came out to explain that MU administrators have met with Concerned Student 1950 three times.

After a few minutes, someone from his office pulled Henson away from his conversation with Concerned Student 1950 leaders to take care of an unrelated matter.

Although he said he would be right back, Concerned Student 1950 organizers refused to wait for Henson’s return; they said his leaving proves that MU administrators do not care about the students.

Concerned Student 1950 organizers also said MU administrators have been lying about meeting with them, and that their time to make demands is not over.

Concerned Student 1950 also addressed a letter Henson wrote them Feb. 25 in which he encouraged face-to-face communication rather than demands to solve campus climate issues.

Members of Concerned Student 1950 have attended the Working Group meetings, according to previous Maneater reporting.

“Not only has there been constant disrespect, but there has also been negligence and denial about what is going on on this campus,” Kato said in regard to Henson’s letter. “The administration needs a working group to figure this shit out. We are resisting it, continually because it is not working; there has not been a lot of inclusivity.”

We need a working group that is representative of marginalized students, a Concerned Student 1950 leader said.

Concerned Student 1950 leaders said they do not feel protected by the UM System’s Student Codes of Conduct because they don't mention hate crimes against black people.

“Why do they need us to come together to tell them how to do their jobs?” a Concerned Student 1950 organizer said to students in Memorial Union. “I ain’t get no paycheck.”

If MU administrators would do their jobs of handling systemic oppression and displacement against black people on campus, they would not need the Working Group, Concerned Student 1950 organizers said.

“We are trying to pull all of our ideas to make a better community, to make a better Mizzou,” Kato said. “The time is now. We have the opportunity to take this into our own hands as students to work together, black, white, I don’t care, but everybody needs to really realize what’s going on, systematically here and in our country. That is why we are here and we continue to fight. We are not going to stop.”

Edited by Waverly Colville | wcolville@themaneater.com

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