LBC supports Homecoming protesters; administrators silent

The demonstration blocked UM President Tim Wolfe’s car in the homecoming parade.

Chants of “M-I-Z Z-O-U” drowned out the cries of protesters Saturday morning at the MU homecoming parade.

“(The chants) showed, even in 2015, many people do not consider us a part of the community and that hurt us the most,” a concerned student wrote in the letter that started circulating on social media Oct. 13.

On Wednesday, the Legion of Black Collegians released a statement in support of the “brave students organizing outside of (LBC).” The statement, signed by LBC’s executive cabinet, called on the administration to do more.

“The continuous acts of racism and discrimination that occur on this campus further show the cracks in the foundation of this University was built upon can and will no longer be tolerated,” the statement read.

The protest was a demonstration of MU’s history of racial violence, according to the letter.

Standing on the crosswalk at University Avenue and Ninth Street, 10 people locked arms in an attempt to get the attention of UM System President Tim Wolfe, an administrator the students say has ignored their many efforts to get ahold of him.

“We stopped him, specifically because after years of constant emailing, letter writing and social media outreach, he had still not responded to the issues of racial injustice on the largest campus in the state,” the letter said.

Wolfe’s office was not available for comment by publication.

“The demonstration was not an indictment on white people, but it was an indictment on structures in place that uphold white supremacy,” the letter said.

The letter alleged that the car carrying Wolfe bumped one of the protesters as the driver tried to get around them.

The protest ended after 10 minutes when Columbia police officers showed up. The letter said officers threatened to use pepper spray and used force to push the protesters back from Wolfe’s car.

The Columbia Police Department was not available for comment by publication.

Carl Kenney, MU adjunct professor and pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, participated in the parade with a group of Columbia residents who wanted to support the students protesting. He said he thought law enforcement did what they felt the public wanted.

“I think the reason (the police) would give for disrupting the protest is people disrupting their Homecoming celebrations,” he said. “As much as people may believe that’s a significant reason to do so, we have serious things happening on this campus, and I commend those students for selecting Homecoming as a place to protest because they needed the attention.”

Saturday’s protest comes after LBC Homecoming royalty were harassed Oct. 5 at Traditions Plaza. A white man disrupted the LBC Homecoming Royalty Court rehearsal around 1 a.m., walked on the stage and would not leave when asked. When the suspect allegedly staggered off of the stage, he said, “these niggers are getting aggressive with me.”

Several organizations, including Missouri Students Association, Black Business Student Association, Residence Hall Association and MU Four Directions showed LBC support by releasing formal letters implicating the racism at MU. The Office of the Chancellor responded to the event with multiple mass emails to students. One sent on Oct. 5 stated, “We will continue to work so that everyone, regardless of background, feels welcome and included at Mizzou — because everyone is.”

Three days later, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced in an email a new diversity and inclusion training in response to several incidents in which students were harassed because of their race.

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