Middleton, Foley speak to Faculty Council about campus climate

“I think what we’re trying to show here is that through communication, compassion and consilience, we can really build a much better community,” interim Chancellor Hank Foley said.

Faculty Council convened for the first time since the resignations of Tim Wolfe and R. Bowen Loftin Thursday. Interim UM System President Mike Middleton and interim Chancellor Hank Foley both spoke to the council about issues related to MU’s campus climate.

“I can tell you this: I know this university has been through a lot,” Middleton said. “We’ve had some very vocal protest from a number of student groups, deans, faculty, graduate students. We’ve got relatively new people in new positions.”

Middleton said his interim role will hopefully put the system in a position for a search for the future UM System president.

“I just ask you to be patient with us,” he said. “Trust that we are about the business of moving the university forward in a way that is taking us into a new era of universities.”

In his new position, Foley said he is currently focusing on setting up meetings with marginalized student groups to relieve them from the “sense of alienation” they have on campus. He said Wednesday night he attended an event at Mizzou Hillel where he spent an hour talking with Jewish students. He said he would like to continue meeting with other student groups as interim chancellor.

“I think what we’re trying to show here is that through communication, compassion and consilience, we can really build a much better community,” Foley said. “And when I listened to the students of Concerned Student 1950, that’s really their main message.”

Foley also discussed the swastika drawn on the wall in feces in Gateway Hall.

“We may never know the real intent of that act,” he said. “We can’t get into the mind of the person who perpetrated that. But I do know the impact. And there’s a difference between intent and impact.”

Foley said he was able to see the impact the vandalism had on the Jewish community, and that this act and similar “acts of hate” will not be tolerated on campus.

Faculty Council Chairman Ben Trachtenberg opened up the room to questions after both guests gave their remarks.

Interim Vice Provost for International Programs Jim Scott updated the council on the four MU students who are currently enrolled in academic programs in France. He said one of the students was in the Stade de France in Saint-Denis the day of the attacks, but she was unaware of what had happened until she was out of the stadium. He said his staff also checked in with other students who were currently studying abroad in other parts of Europe.

Several changes to the current MU student travel policies, proposed by Scott, were endorsed by the Faculty Council Student Affairs Committee and approved before the council went into closed session.

The changes required additional reviewal of proposals after approval for inclusion in the study abroad curriculum and the addition of a committee to assure “emergency preparedness and crisis management capabilities,” including the director of the MU International Center (who would serve as chair) and at least three faculty representatives.

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