Letter to the Editor: An open letter to Chancellor Loftin from Jordan Hoyt

“We have a right to choose how and where we enhance and employ our education, and the university’s decision to sever ties with Planned Parenthood infringes on that right.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a letter to the editor written by a member of the MU community who is not part of The Maneater’s staff. It is not the opinion of The Maneater or its editorial board. In accordance with our letters policy, we publish every letter submitted to us barring personal attacks or hate speech; we welcome responses to this and everything we publish via a letter or in our comments section.

An open letter to Chancellor Loftin:

You know me — we’ve met many times. I am an active and vocal graduate student leader on campus, currently earning my second degree from the University of Missouri. I am a taxpayer, a homeowner and a registered voter. I am a native Columbian and a lifelong resident of this amazing city — and I do love my city. I love our passion and our diversity. I love our citizens and the voices they give to the issues that are important to them. I love that we are one of the most educated cities in the nation, thanks to the many institutions of higher education that call Columbia home. However, I do not believe that you have had the opportunity to cultivate such a love for your new home. If you had, you would know that Columbia needs people to care for it intensely and unwaveringly. You would know that your graduate students trickle into our community and do an immense service for this city. We work in hospitals, schools, government, city offices, local businesses and restaurants. We are interns, fellows, researchers, and graduate employees; mentors, parents, friends, and caregivers. We love what we do because, when we set aside our shamefully low income, lack of housing, loss of insurance, funding cuts, skyrocketing student loan interest rates, the university’s blatant disregard for the phenomenal weight that we pull as a student body, and your stony silence in the face of racism perpetrated against your students, we find that we are still privileged enough to be able to pursue our dreams in higher education. Ours is a privilege borne of choice.

We have a right to choose how and where we enhance and employ our education, and the university’s decision to sever ties with Planned Parenthood infringes on that right. It is a disservice to your students — graduate and undergraduate alike — and your community, and it opens a dangerous door. In doing so, you have diminished our capacity to serve our community’s needs, and destroyed a decades-long partnership that has benefitted students, faculty, and the population that is served by our local Planned Parenthood — a population that needs preventative cancer screenings, breast exams, STI testing, well-woman exams, family planning services and educational outreach; all services that the students and faculty who choose to work with Planned Parenthood are well-qualified to provide. So I’m writing today to ask you, where does this end? If the University of Missouri — a public, land grant institution dedicated to higher education — will bend to the threats of a small group of misinformed, biased, witch-hunting politicians at the cost of their students’ educational enrichment, then why would any student choose to come here? What benefit is there in coming to an institution that doesn’t value your community, work, family, intelligence, diversity, or freedom of choice? What other carefully cultivated partnerships will be hastily broken, without input from the faculty and students who are directly impacted by such a decision, before you realize that these people — your faculty, staff, and students - are the very heart of your work here, and you won’t survive without us?

Chancellor Loftin, I’m writing to tell you that your heart is still pumping. It’s pounding in your ears and it’s only going to get louder. Perhaps it’s time to start marching to its beat.

Jordan Hoyt jeh7a7@mail.missouri.edu

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