Social justice student organizations in arms over diversity course failure

Faculty Council will push for a second vote on the initiative.

Ashley Lane / Graphic Designer

After the proposed diversity course requirement failed in May, Faculty Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin sent an email to some of MU's student leaders, where she promised the vote wasn't the end of the push for a diversity intensive course requirement.

"Thank you for your patience," she said. "It will be rewarded, I assure you."

Four Front chairman Sean Nahlik said he was relieved to hear the council will continue to work to get the proposal passed, but distraught by the faculty's original response.

"I honestly wasn't expecting it," he said. "At this point, and I guess I was kind of naïve in this, but I thought we were done. I thought, 'You know what? The Faculty Council has passed this requirement, and now we'll see that in the next year or so.' I thought the war was done and we can go on to bigger things now. I'm disappointed."

Legion of Black Collegians President Whitney Williams said she wasn't happy with the faculty's vote either. She said the course requirement has been one of LBC's utmost goals and is included on its List of Demands. The list includes 10 demands the organization made to MU in 2005.

"It seemed as if it was finally about to become a reality," Williams said.

Chancellor Brady Deaton also sent an email to several of these students addressing the issue, which Nahlik said was reassuring.

"I was happy that the administration is willing to take the next steps to keep this issue moving forward instead of just giving up," Nahlik said. "Both of them seemed very real and committed to making this happen."

Williams also said she was upset by the lack of faculty response to the ballot - of the 1,200 ballots sent out, only 442 were returned.

"It raises concern about how much our faculty and staff truly care about upholding diversity at this university," Williams said.

In her email, Rubin assured the leaders this isn't the case.

"This vote in no way diminishes the commitment of MU faculty to diversity as part of the MU student educational experience," she said, citing the high number of classes that already address diversity issues and the support of the "One Mizzou" campaign as evidence.

For these reasons, in addition to the extensive amount of work put into the requirement thus far, Nahlik believes the requirement will eventually see the light of day.

"I feel like it just has to," he said. "People keep working on it. People keep bringing it up. At this point, I'm not letting it fail be an option."

If it comes to it, he said Four Front and other social justice organizations would rally to garner support for and awareness of the requirement.

Nahlik said he is curious to find out exactly why the proposal didn't pass the faculty vote, some of which he blames on miscommunication. Rubin addressed this in her email.

"We are a large institution and faculty members have many responsibilities that at times make such two-way communication less than ideal," she said. "We can and will do better!"

The council is looking at other options throughout the summer, which will ultimately result in a revised proposal and a second faculty vote on the issue. Rubin said this could happen as soon as the fall.

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