MU fails to fully meet students' demands

Despite granting health insurance to graduate students for a year, MU still has yet to respond to countless other demands by student groups.

Since August, MU has been called upon by various groups including the Forum on Graduate Rights and Concerned Student 1950 to meet their demands.

At the start of fall semester, FGR presented administrators with a list of demands to be met. After administrators failed to meet the demands by the given deadline, graduate students scheduled an all-day walkout on Aug. 26, according to previous Maneater reporting.

According to the release, their demands stipulated that:

  • No graduate students employees be paid below the individual poverty line.
  • All graduate student employees receive full tuition waivers.
  • A health care plan for the full term of all graduate students’ employment.
  • “Immediate action” from the university to aid international students affected by the loss of health insurance.
  • More graduate student housing that is also affordable.
  • A reinstatement of on-campus, university-sponsored childcare facilities the graduate students could use.
  • A waiver of “supplemental fees” charged to graduate student employees.

Less than a month later, MU was presented with an additional list of demands from Concerned Student 1950 after 11 demonstrators were met with force and threatened with pepper spray after trying to get UM System President Tim Wolfe’s attention at the Homecoming Parade, according to previous Maneater reporting.

According to Concerned Student 1950’s release, the demands outlined that:

  • Wolfe write a handwritten apology to Concerned Student 1950 demonstrators in addition to holding a press conference in the Student Center where the letter would be read. The letter must address: Wolfe’s white male privilege, recognize the existence of systems of oppression, guarantee verbally his commitment to addressing the group’s demands, and admit to “gross negligence” to allow his driver to hit a demonstrator while refusing to intervene when the Columbia Police Department utilized force.
  • Removal of Wolfe as UM System president and a new policy put in place that requires that all future UM System presidents as well as chancellors be chosen “by a collective of students, staff and faculty of diverse backgrounds.”
  • MU meet the Legion of Black Collegians’ 1969 demands that called for the betterment of the black community.
  • MU implement “racial awareness and inclusion curriculum” throughout campus that is reviewed by a board consisting of students, staff, and faculty of color.
  • In the 2017-2018 academic year MU increase the percentage of black faculty and staff to 10 percent.
  • MU create a strategic 10-year plan by May 1, 2016 that will work toward increasing retention rates for marginalized students, continue diversity training and create a more safe and inclusive campus climate.
  • Increase funding and resources for the MU Counseling Center to hire more mental health professionals, especially those of color, in order to increase outreach and awareness and reduce waiting times.
  • Increase funding, resources and personnel for social justice centers to hire more professionals of color to advance awareness as well as visibility.

After Wolfe failed to meet any of Concerned Student 1950’s demands, graduate student Jonathan Butler, who participated in the Homecoming parade demonstration and was also bumped by the car Wolfe rode in, has now commenced an indefinite hunger strike calling for the removal of Wolfe.

While MU partially met FGR’s demands by guaranteeing health insurance for graduate students for a year, it remains yet to be seen how MU will respond to Butler and Concerned Students 1950’s demands.

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