"It’s worth sacrificing... because I’m already not wanted here."
November 9, 2015 6:12 AM   Subscribe

After several high-profile incidents of overt racism at the University of Missouri, the student organization Concerned Student 1950 (named after the first year that African-American students were allowed to enroll at UM) held protests and demanded the resignation of Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System. Graduate student Jonathan Butler started a hunger strike, and student members of the football team have boycotted all team activities until Wolfe resigns.

The Missouri Tigers are in the powerhouse Southeastern Conference, so the football boycott ignited national coverage of the story, from ESPN to the New York Times. Wolfe will not resign, according to a statement released by the university. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has said that "concerns must be addressed", and the Republican chair of the House Higher Education Committee has called for Wolfe to resign or be fired. If the boycott cancels this weekend's game against BYU, UM will pay a $1 million penalty.
posted by Etrigan (232 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is the best use of football I have ever seen.
posted by zyxwvut at 6:26 AM on November 9, 2015 [65 favorites]


This is the best use of football I have ever seen.

Yep. I thought this was fascinating: Missouri Football Strike Proves Athletes Are Our Universities' Most Valuable Commodities
posted by lalex at 6:27 AM on November 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


I continue to be amazed by and proud of the bravery of young people today. The current flourishing of strong, creative, badass protest by young people is the real "Ferguson Effect."

Here's the text of Jonathan Butler's letter. The Mizzou faculty plan to walk out in support of the strikers today and tomorrow.

(It's interesting that BYU is the opposing team, considering the strife within the Mormon Church right now over discrimination.)
posted by sallybrown at 6:33 AM on November 9, 2015 [28 favorites]


Not sure why I keep reading comments in local newspaper articles about race issues but the Columbia Missourian link is like some level 10 "what about racism against whites" shit.
posted by windbox at 6:38 AM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Glad to read the update this morning that the faculty is planning to support these fine students. What really courageous young people.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:44 AM on November 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Just saw this on espn. March Schwarz gulped big when they went to him to start his report. They said there's a faculty walkout scheduled to happen in 90 minutes. Payton Head (student body president) got interviewed by espn, and in addition to his description of the multiple incidents of cars of students driving by shouting the n word at him, he talks about how it made a light bulb go off in his head. Because aside from more subtle racism and microagressions, he said he hadn't experienced something this overt. And I was saying "yesss" like Morpheus to Neo when Neo sees the agents coming at him.

A lot of younger black people haven't felt the mental heat that puts on you, and they disparage the president because they haven't a real clue for just how historic his presence is in the white house. They've experienced a thing here, a thing there, but I think they have somewhat of a buffer around them so that they are able to not feel these things in their core for the most part. It can still feel like the odd individual rather than feel like how a lot of us conceptualize it as, which is the weight of a racist society. So that like in the film, each person could be in agent in seconds, every white person you encounter can be an agent of this racist power structure in an instant.

I hope a good resolution comes out of this that benefits all. The last time I thought about a team or teams boycotting, it was in basketball related to the Sterling situation. I keep waiting for the disruption that will occur if one day a group of athletes decide that they want societal change, and when the game starts, they kick off, or tip the ball, or throw a pitch, then just sit there. They have power, and I am glad they're going to use it.
posted by cashman at 6:45 AM on November 9, 2015 [41 favorites]


The Maneater -- which is the independent student newspaper on campus -- also has an informative timeline of this fall.
posted by rewil at 6:57 AM on November 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


Great piece by Dave Zirin at The Nation:
There is no football team without black labor. That means there aren’t million-dollar coaching salaries without black labor. There isn’t a nucleus of campus social life without black labor. There isn’t the weekly economic boon to Columbia, Missouri, bringing in millions in revenue to hotels, restaurants, and other assorted businesses without black labor. The power brokers of Columbia need these games to be played. Yet if the young black men and those willing to stand with them—and there are white teammates publicly standing with them—aren’t happy with the grind of unpaid labor on a campus openly hostile to black students, they can take it it all down, just by putting down their helmets, hanging up their spikes, and folding their arms.
posted by sallybrown at 7:13 AM on November 9, 2015 [85 favorites]




Lawyers Guns and Money has done a lot of excellent reporting about the injustice of (often minority) college players not being paid while (usually white) colleges make millions from their labor. Really opened my eyes to that situation.
posted by emjaybee at 7:21 AM on November 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


They have power, and I am glad they're going to use it.

Seriously. This is all amazing to see, on so many levels. I'm glad the faculty are supporting them, and glad in a "whew, at least some faculty aren't embarrassing the rest of academia" way. It's an amazing time, this stuff is so much worse than it's easy to believe as a white person (and I think it's worse than it was when I was in school). It seems like the tide is turning (knock wood) on it, after two-plus years of intensive protests and organizing.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:21 AM on November 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


The cynic in me wonders how much easier the boycott became since the quarterback was suspended for the rest of the season, replaced by a freshman. As a result the team has little hope for a successful season.
posted by jedicus at 7:23 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone who grew up in a southern university town, the fact that this kids are getting support from the faculty and the football coach(!) is just staggering. It's about 50% "geez, things must be really bad" and 50% "wow, maybe part of the world really is changing in a good way".
posted by selfnoise at 7:24 AM on November 9, 2015 [23 favorites]


One anonymous alleged player says that not everyone supports the boycott. I guess it's progress of a sort that the assholes realize that they're on the wrong side to the point that they have to hide.
posted by Etrigan at 7:26 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


God I hope this is effective and I hope it spreads throughout the nation. It's long past due.
posted by teleri025 at 7:31 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The cynic in me wonders how much easier the boycott became since the quarterback was suspended for the rest of the season, replaced by a freshman. As a result the team has little hope for a successful season.

I would call potentially replacing Wolfe with a more competent university president, and drawing national attention to an ongoing dire situation, a pretty successful season.
posted by AceRock at 7:32 AM on November 9, 2015 [48 favorites]


The cynic in me wonders how much easier the boycott became since the quarterback was suspended for the rest of the season, replaced by a freshman. As a result the team has little hope for a successful season.

If this boycott goes two weeks, they won't be bowl-eligible. That's not the SEC Championship, but there are still on-the-field stakes in play.
posted by Etrigan at 7:36 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Revisiting this post, and my first comment, I want to expand it.

There would not have been a football strike if not for the hunger strike. There would not have been a hunger strike if not for the students speaking up, over and over again. I did not mean to make this thread about football (but I suppose that is an indication of where the national attention focuses).

I support these students, these people.
posted by zyxwvut at 7:51 AM on November 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


I would call potentially replacing Wolfe with a more competent university president, and drawing national attention to an ongoing dire situation, a pretty successful season.

Yes yes, but my point was that the original quarterback's screwups and resulting suspension have quite possibly paved the way for the boycott. The collective action and solidarity problem are much easier to solve when the players have little to lose from a boycott.

If this boycott goes two weeks, they won't be bowl-eligible. That's not the SEC Championship, but there are still on-the-field stakes in play.

I think you missed my point. The team was not likely to win its remaining games. The boycott has significant stakes, but the downside risk for the players is much smaller than it might have been otherwise.

The players are making a significant statement and taking significant risks. But I think it's worth acknowledging that there are some fortuitous circumstances that may have made it easier for some players (especially white players) to join the boycott.
posted by jedicus at 8:05 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


But I think it's worth acknowledging that there are some fortuitous circumstances that may have made it easier for some players (especially white players) to join the boycott.

You sound like someone saying that a lot of black people in Montgomery in 1955 didn't live that far from work anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 8:13 AM on November 9, 2015 [49 favorites]


MSNBC breaking news: President Wolfe will resign.
posted by sallybrown at 8:15 AM on November 9, 2015 [33 favorites]


Well that was fast.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


wow.
posted by twist my arm at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Huge news! Wow. I hope this emboldens others to stand up to racism.
posted by cashman at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Whoa, really? I thought he was going to fight that one to the wall.

I wish it didn't take a major athletics boycott in order to raise this kind of thing to national attention -- but I am humbled and awed that the players chose to use their power in this way. And then I was GOBSMACKED when the entire team (anonymous haters notwithstanding) and the COACH stood with them. It seems so small, but on the other hand, it seems so big.
posted by KathrynT at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


Well that was fast.

75 minutes into the first working day after the boycott. Dude knows which side his bread is buttered on.
posted by Etrigan at 8:19 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


The spice must flow.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:20 AM on November 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Now get that guy some food!
posted by cashman at 8:20 AM on November 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


It is a shame that it took a threat to the football team to get change done, but I guess whatever works in the modern academy is whatever works.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:23 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


It is a shame that it took a threat to BY the football team to get change done

These guys took a bold move that could have had serious consequences for them, let's not take away that agency.
posted by KathrynT at 8:26 AM on November 9, 2015 [49 favorites]


Oh no, I am very impressed that they did it; they were risking scholarships and their college educations. I'm mostly glum at the demonstration that Division I universities are football teams with a side hobby in teaching college classes, but that's nothing new. Hopefully the new president makes the changes that the team boycotted for.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:28 AM on November 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Pretty impressed that the coaching staff supported the players.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:32 AM on November 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


You sound like someone saying that a lot of black people in Montgomery in 1955 didn't live that far from work anyway.

Jesus Christ. Let me repeat myself with emphasis added: "there are some fortuitous circumstances that may have made it easier for some players (especially white players) to join the boycott."

The quarterback's suspension and the team's resultant greatly lessened prospects are facts. There is no need to pretend that the players and coach are giving up the prospect of a perfect, glorious season at the end of which they'll all be recruited for the NFL. We can be adults here and engage with reality. There is no need to make the narrative any bigger (or less!) than it is.
posted by jedicus at 8:32 AM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


[Maybe let's drop the season prospect game theory thing; I think once you're tripling down on something that's getting pushback it makes more sense to recognize that it's getting pushback you didn't expect and chalk that up to a room-reading error than to insist that it be a point of discussion.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 AM on November 9, 2015 [24 favorites]


It's interesting that in the microcosm of a pretty liberal place like Metafilter, the threatened football strike has attracted more discussion and concern than the week-old hunger strike by Jonathan Butler.

I read a bunch of articles about this situation today, and Butler was at the center of all of them, even before the hunger strike. I'm glad he'll be around to participate in next steps.
posted by mantecol at 8:38 AM on November 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Has a college football team ever done anything like this in history?
posted by bukvich at 8:38 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The collective action and solidarity problem are much easier to solve when the players have little to lose from a boycott.

"Little to lose"? They had (have) a lot to lose by refusing to play -- a glorious season is only one of those things. They have scholarships to lose, they have reputations as risky troublemakers you might not want to hire to gain. The amount of hatred aimed at them for this strike is also rather appalling, and they made the decision that it was worth it.

Football is far from perfect and no human being is perfectly selfless. But seriously, your insistence on downplaying the difficulty of this collective action is really weird.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:40 AM on November 9, 2015 [50 favorites]


I am really surprised Wolfe resigned. Was really not expecting that. Still interested to see how this plays out.
posted by sio42 at 8:41 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's not (just) Metafilter, it's the national media. The protests really didn't get any attention until the football team stepped in.

I had a pretty long post written about the lead up to their participation, but ditched it cause it really wasn't going to add much to the conversation in the end. In short, though, protests have not been major talkworthy news around Columbia, much less nationally.

Count me in as also surprised that Wolfe resigned so quickly, especially given the letter he released yesterday.
posted by Atreides at 8:42 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]




School paper's coverage on the resignation.
Butler posted on Facebook that he had ended that [hunger] strike shortly after Wolfe's announcement.
Whew.
posted by Etrigan at 8:50 AM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Atreides: "Count me in as also surprised that Wolfe resigned so quickly, especially given the letter he released yesterday."

Had he not resigned, it's entirely probable that other teams at other schools would have struck in solidarity. Wolfe was undoubtedly getting pressure from both other university presidents and other university coaches. He resigned to prevent the $1M payout to BYU from happening, because if he hadn't, it would have turned into multiple millions across the NCAA.

There was probably also some pressure from the NFL; can you imagine what would have happened if a professional team had struck in solidarity?

The amount of money at stake is astounding, and the possibility of its loss tends to concentrate the capitalist mind wonderfully.
posted by scrump at 8:51 AM on November 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


It's not (just) Metafilter, it's the national media. The protests really didn't get any attention until the football team stepped in.

Granted the sample size (post count) here is pretty small, but I would have predicted a Metafilter thread to go more in the direction of the hunger strike, especially since both items were mentioned side-by-side in the first post.

I admittedly don't get football fervor at all, but it seems a strange thing to latch onto when someone's life is in the balance. But maybe this is more of a MeTa topic?
posted by mantecol at 8:51 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Has a college football team ever done anything like this in history?

Penn State was scheduled to play Miami, a segregated school. Miami insisted they leave running back Wallace Triplett at home. The team voted to not play Miami.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:52 AM on November 9, 2015 [37 favorites]


I have a tiny flicker of hope this will lead to NCAA teams someday striking for pay.
posted by sallybrown at 8:53 AM on November 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


The coaching staff (and in particular head coach Pinkel) had very little choice except to support the players. If they didn't, well, good luck recruiting minority players in the future (and without free black labor, there is no SEC football). Now, chances are, Pinkel is a reasonable guy who (through his players) has far more of a connection to Mizzou's black student body than Wolfe does, and he'd support this protest anyway... but there's no way he could publicly stay neutral or support the University and remain an effective coach.

Being a D1 coach who is publicly in opposition to your school president is dangerous to your job.

Being a D1 coach who is publicly in opposition to your players is even more dangerous to your career.

And as it turns out, being a university president in opposition to your football team can be dangerous to your job. This has the potential to shift tides. Because, what happens when a team or teams strike because they make millions for their schools and can't be paid a dime?
posted by toxic at 8:54 AM on November 9, 2015 [17 favorites]




Granted the sample size (post count) here is pretty small, but I would have predicted a Metafilter thread to go more in the direction of the hunger strike, especially since both items were mentioned side-by-side in the first post.

The hunger strike was interesting but not very discussable ("He sure is brave!" "Yep!"), but the prospect of a football team getting to dictate policy is definitely something to talk about.

Plus, I'll admit, I (a Midwesterner but not a Missourian, except on my mother's side) only heard about this because of the football team's boycott.
posted by Etrigan at 8:56 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Athletes having power isn't news. That power is why they can assault someone or drive drunk and not be charged. That power is why if they are having trouble in class, nearly infinite resources will be deployed by the University to make sure they pass and stay eligible -- right down to actually committing fraud.

The news is that these athletes used that power to help the entire University, rather than just themselves. That's the man-bites-dog part here.

And this has pretty much every school nervous. Because, well, they see that power now. What else will that use that power for?
posted by eriko at 9:03 AM on November 9, 2015 [70 favorites]


The link just posted by almostmanda does a really good job of summing up what's been going on in the background of these events, and leading up to them. I'd recommend reading it for anyone looking for a better understanding.
posted by Atreides at 9:06 AM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]




Howard Bryant just referenced the Sterling situation (from the NBA) on ESPN.

Also, there will be a one hour Outside the Lines on ESPN2, that covers this whole story. It airs at 1:00pm (in 50 minutes).
posted by cashman at 9:11 AM on November 9, 2015


One incident not addressed in that link, and understandably since it's not on campus, was the Confederate Rock issue. The Confederate Rock was a large granite boulder that was situated just outside the county courthouse. The courthouse being located not just in Columbia, but sharing a street that ran straight to campus, it's somewhat connected. The boulder was a memorial for the Confederate dead of the county and had been placed on campus up to 1975, when black protests resulted in its removal to the courthouse. In September, in the wake of the Confederate flag protests, a black grad student raised a petition to have it removed. Despite the protests of the "It doesn't represent hate!" crowd, the county ended up moving it to a battlefield some miles away.
posted by Atreides at 9:13 AM on November 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Penn State was scheduled to play Miami, a segregated school. Miami insisted they leave running back Wallace Triplett at home. The team voted to not play Miami.

A similar thing happened in *looks* 1958 when the University of Buffalo (before it became a SUNY) voted not to go to a bowl game down south.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:26 AM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


"As someone who grew up in a southern university town, the fact that this kids are getting support from the faculty and the football coach(!) is just staggering. It's about 50% "geez, things must be really bad" and 50% "wow, maybe part of the world really is changing in a good way"."

Something that I don't get, and likely it's because I'm trying to piece this back together from news recaps that don't capture the situation's nuance, is why Wolfe became such a flashpoint. The quotes that I've seen seem conciliatory and politic, if not satisfying — like him saying that he isn't aware of the totality of systemic oppression on campus being taken as a sign that he's "blaming the victims." Well, as a white man, especially a privileged white man, wouldn't he always have a gap between a theoretical understanding of the totality of oppression and the lived experience of it? Wouldn't people of color de facto always be more aware since it's part of their daily lives?

Is there a deeper history with this guy or something?

I'm glad that the football strike has been able to force this conversation, but even after reading e.g. Butler's letter I'm not sure why Wolfe was the flashpoint.
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. You've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!" Mario Savio, December 2, 1964.

Still relevant, 50 years later. Post-Free Speech Movement, I really wonder what any university administration thinks is going to happen when campus protests reach the point of walkouts and hunger strikes. Half-measures don't seem to do much when the student body gets to that point.

Also, holy shit, they pulled grad students' health care with less than a day's notice before it expired? What total bullshit. Even if nothing else was worth taking to the barricades for (though it most certainly was), that sure as hell was.
posted by yasaman at 9:42 AM on November 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


he was characterized as blaming the victim for saying: "Systematic oppression is because you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success"

it's that "don't believe" part, suggesting that it's all in their heads, that it's not real. he was actually doing the opposite of how you tell it - he wasn't saying he doesn't have a totality of awareness, but that they're only reacting on their feelings, not the reality.
posted by nadawi at 9:43 AM on November 9, 2015 [20 favorites]


Penn State was scheduled to play Miami, a segregated school. Miami insisted they leave running back Wallace Triplett at home. The team voted to not play Miami.
posted by cmfletcher


That is the man Penn State should enshrine with a statue. Not that other guy/coach/demon.

---

klangklangston, I think your question is answered in your own word "flashpoint." The president of the university is the leader, the ultimatum, the tone-setter. He reverted to a tone that is about 6 decades old and a thousand hatreds deep.
posted by zyxwvut at 9:43 AM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


also, he's a flashpoint because his entire job is to lead and he refused to do that and was a coward at every step.
Campus tensions reached a boiling point during the Oct. 10 homecoming parade, when student protesters blocked the parade route by standing in front of a car containing Wolfe. The car inched forward and, according to communications professor Melissa Click, bumped into a protester. Wolfe did not speak to the protesters, and police took them off the street, threatening arrest.

Wolfe “allowed his driver to try to drive around us, even hit one of us,” said Parnell, who participated in the demonstration. She said police threatened protesters with pepper spray and pushed them, and Wolfe “did not intervene whatsoever.”
posted by nadawi at 9:46 AM on November 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


Is there a deeper history with this guy or something?

There's no history with this guy. He became president after a career in software and technology sales. His prior experience was middle management for Novell, Attachmate, and prior to that sales at IBM. He didn't know the first thing about running a group of state universites.

From a thousand miles away it looks like political patronage.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:51 AM on November 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


From his resignation statement:
The frustration and anger I see is real and I don't doubt it for a second.
Nope, you still don't get it, dude. The problem is not whether you fucking believe that people are really frustrated and angry. The problem isn't even whether people are really frustrated and angry. You are two goddamn steps away from even seeing what the problem is.
posted by Etrigan at 9:55 AM on November 9, 2015 [15 favorites]


From a thousand miles away it looks like political patronage.

See, I look at it as, just another example of mind-boggling, out-in-the-open, top-to-bottom incompetence that regularly occurs at American universities. Take a look at university presidents and professors and ask yourself, "Why is this person here?"

Wolfe's initial contract called for a $450,000 annual salary and $100,000 in bonus potential. He also gets free housing and a car or car allowance.[4] He will live in Columbia on university grounds at Providence Point (although he said initially his family will continue to live at their home outside of Boston, Massachusetts.[7]

The editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch criticized the University of Missouri's Board of Curators for hiring someone with no professional experience in educational settings who needed a two-month "journey of enlightenment" to learn about each of the four campuses' needs.[8]

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:20 AM on November 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


From this link in the FPP, it sounds like there have been problems with many aspects of his leadership long before these events began. ("Wolfe has come under near constant fire over the past seven months.")

I'm a Mizzou alum and only heard about this when the football team joined in. I haven't lived in Missouri for a long time, but I still feel kind of ashamed and unsettled that I had no idea any of this was happening.
posted by something something at 10:29 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


just another example of mind-boggling, out-in-the-open, top-to-bottom incompetence that regularly occurs at American universities

Yep, you reap what you sow. (This just happened again, over vociferous faculty and student protests, at the University of Iowa.) Hire a business person to run a university, and guess what: they have no idea how to do the job. At Mizzou, the idea that a university should be run like a business has slammed into the truth of universities not, you know, actually being businesses. (The idea that business people and lawyers can do ANYTHING is, of course, a cultural sickness with very serious consequences: ref. Michael Brown and FEMA.)

I do disagree with the characterization that university faculty are widely incompetent, though, just like I disagree that most public school teachers are incompetent (though I am a professor, my disagreement is not personal). Professors, just like school teachers, are just about the only population of workers holding all this together, though our ability to do so is continually blocked and diminished.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:39 AM on November 9, 2015 [19 favorites]


Was Wolfe's predecessor (also an IT manager who had never been in academia outside of getting a degree) so successful or beloved that the board felt it necessary to try to replicate him?
posted by Etrigan at 10:49 AM on November 9, 2015


I went to Mizzou, and even though I haven't lived in Columbia for eight years I cannot understate how important football is to that town. The population of Columbia more than doubles on "Football Saturdays," and each game brings in millions of dollars to the local economy. Even away games are huuuuge for the local bars and restaurants.

I knew when the team went on strike that it was only a matter of time before Wolfe buckled. There is no way no how they would ever allow football to not happen in that town. It's an ugly deal all around but very excited to see what social change can be enacted now that NCAA players know the full breadth of their collective power.
posted by joechip at 10:49 AM on November 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


FWIW here is the statement of Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (R-Cape Girardeau; in MO the Gov & Lt Gov are not necessarily from the same party and Kinder is R while Gov Nixon is D).

Gist of it is: Racism=bad, but law enforcement needs to get in there & crack some heads to maintain ORDER on campus.

Perhaps not the most productive tack to take after the troubles law enforcement had relating to protesters in Ferguson . . .
posted by flug at 11:00 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, at least all those people clamoring to know what the Lieutenant Governor thought about the situation will be able to sleep tonight.
posted by Etrigan at 11:05 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


That statement from Kinder came out yesterday, 11/8.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:09 AM on November 9, 2015


Kinder's statement proves that, to some people, just listening to black people is an "extreme demand" that requires hope for a "peaceful resolution"; it's embarrassing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:13 AM on November 9, 2015 [17 favorites]


...student members of the football team...

Heh.

Take a look at university presidents and professors...

Do you know a lot of professors?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:22 AM on November 9, 2015


Wow, the back-and-forth on that Kinder statement is really, uh, something. Seems both sides have expressed "extreme" views, and so naturally the only proper course of action is to meet in the middle somewhere. Since one side's starting point is "get back to work before we call in the riot police", and the other's is "stop treating a large portion of your student body as though they were second tier citizens, and by the way that same portion of students is going to stop providing millions of dollars in uncompensated labor until you do so," I'm sure we'll find some nice, suitable middle ground that handily preserves the status quo.
posted by Mayor West at 11:29 AM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, just to be clear, Wolfe was the president of the University of Missouri System, not a single campus. Bowen Loftin is chancellor of University of Missouri in Columbia, the flagship campus also known as MU or Mizzou. There are three other campuses in the system (UM- St. Louis, UM- Kansas City, and Missouri S&T) and the UM System President oversees all four campuses under the direction of the Board of Curators.

Loftin, while currently embattled himself (this fall alone his failure of leadership has led to the Planned Parenthood issues, the Graduate Student walkout, and last week [before Butler began his hunger strike] the MU English Department gave him a vote of no confidence), at least attempted to respond in a timely manner to the racist issues that occurred on campus, even if they were mostly hollow platitudes and empty rhetoric.
Wolfe, on the other hand, went weeks without apologizing or addressing the incident in which his parade car struck a student demonstrator during the Homecoming parade. On Friday, he was asked by students to define systemic racism, and he blamed it on Black students.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:34 AM on November 9, 2015 [16 favorites]




Just ignore Kinder. Everyone else already does that in Missouri.
posted by Atreides at 11:40 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, just to be clear, Wolfe was the president of the University of Missouri System, not a single campus. Bowen Loftin is chancellor of University of Missouri in Columbia, the flagship campus also known as MU or Mizzou.

Thanks, aabbbbiee. I mistakenly thought that the University of Missouri System referred to, like, UM-Columbia and satellite campuses.
posted by Etrigan at 11:41 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


That tweet aabbbiee links to was how I found out about this. Unbelievably dense and clueless Wolfe is. Geez.
posted by sio42 at 11:41 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stop treating a large portion of your student body as though they were second tier citizens...

Unfortunately, it's not such a large portion -- only 7-10%, depending on whom you count. Which may well be part of the problem.
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:42 AM on November 9, 2015


Maybe we can adjust it to "stop treating the money-making portion of your student body like second tier citizens."
posted by sio42 at 11:48 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd like to know the makeup of the football team VS the entire student body.
posted by sio42 at 11:48 AM on November 9, 2015






Do you know a lot of professors?

Married one. Does that count?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:03 PM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am a librarian at MU and a 3rd generation MU alumni. I participated in the walkout today (which was one of many departments that issued statements of support) and the rally. There may have been football players present, but it was not obvious to those in attendance. The participants learned about the resignation while in the rally, and it was a big moment, but they understood that it was a moment, and not the end of the movement, that there is still a lot to do here. Racism lives here.

To get on my soapbox for a second, I want to point out that Missouri is NOT the South. MU, while now in the SEC, is NOT a Southern university. I have seen it referred to as such and that is false.
The reason that it is important to note this is because it is very easy for us in the US who are outside the South to write off this kind of racism as a problem in the South. If Missouri is recast as a Southern state, then we don't have to think about this being an Everywhere problem. But this is an Everywhere problem.
This is not to say Missouri doesn't have a racist history and a racist present. Missouri is a very racist state and needs to deal with that, absolutely. But Missouri is not part of the South.
posted by aabbbiee at 12:06 PM on November 9, 2015 [40 favorites]


3 Lessons from University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe's Resignation:
"3) Don’t erase the mass struggle of students and faculty members that preceded the football strike. Yes, what the football players did was critical, perhaps even a tipping point in the battle to remove Wolfe from power. But if the football players had acted in a vacuum, then Wolfe would still be in charge. It is also difficult to imagine the football players acting at all without the broader struggle on campus. The protests of students and faculty members whose names the public does not know is what laid the groundwork for the players to showcase their courage. It’s like a stool: students, faculty, and athletes. When one leg on that stool isn’t there, this falls apart.
"If there is a lesson here for student activists around the country, it should be to try to connect with so-called “student athletes.” Don’t treat them like they exist in their own space. Don’t accede to the way schools already attempt, with separate dorms and cafeterias, to create an environment where they are segregated from normal campus life. Fight that. Talk to them, listen to their grievances, and make clear to your administration that the athletes, students, and faculty united will never be defeated. The administrators created this world where our universities revolve socially, politically and economically around the exploited labor of big time football. Now let them reap what they sow."
posted by aabbbiee at 12:09 PM on November 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


This is not to say Missouri doesn't have a racist history and a racist present. Missouri is a very racist state and needs to deal with that, absolutely. But Missouri is not part of the South.

I don't want to argue the general point that racism is certainly an everywhere issue. But I was born and raised in south Missouri and culturally speaking the Ozarks are very much Southern.
posted by joechip at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


by that rational though, eastern washington is very much southern.
posted by nadawi at 12:24 PM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can we not use "Southern" as a synonym for racist?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:25 PM on November 9, 2015 [18 favorites]


Southern Missouri is indistinguishable from the South, but northern Missouri might as well be Iowa. It is not Southern. And Missouri is also home to two large cities (Kansas City and St. Louis) with a Black population that migrated out of the Jim Crow South, changing those cities forever. This combination of factors is why it's important to understand that we can't just slap the whole state with a SOUTHERN label and then turn our backs, shrugging it off as a regional issue. Missouri's issues are US issues.
posted by aabbbiee at 12:27 PM on November 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


The reason that it is important to note this is because it is very easy for us in the US who are outside the South to write off this kind of racism as a problem in the South. If Missouri is recast as a Southern state, then we don't have to think about this being an Everywhere problem. But this is an Everywhere problem.

I come at this from the opposite perspective. I've lived nine years out of the last fifteen in Missouri, married a Missourian, and I think a lot of the race problems in Missouri arises from the fact that the state has a strong Southern heritage filtered by immigrants to a certain degree. However, the refusal to acknowledge as much, leads to an argument that it isn't the South, so it doesn't have the same race problems as the Southern states. It was a slave state, during the war, a border state in which two sides contested its political positioning.

In certain ways, it's racial history has been forgotten, such as the continual race riots in Southwest Missouri, or even the lynching that happened in Columbia that still not many are aware of. That happened in 1923. There are still Columbians, albeit quite on the older side, who may remember it or at least were alive when it happened. There are plantation houses within easy driving distances from the city. Racism is everywhere, definitely, but Missouri does share that heritage of the dark stain of slavery with only a select few states, almost all south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Columbia, the city, has its own race problems off of campus, regardless of whether one believes the state hews South, North, West, or East. I do think, in general, both the city and the county recognize these problems and are attempting to acknowledge and fix them, such as adopting ban the box or moving the Confederate Rock out of town.
posted by Atreides at 12:27 PM on November 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Can we not use "Southern" as a synonym for racist?

if that was directed at me, that was my objection as well...
posted by nadawi at 12:42 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


"it's that "don't believe" part, suggesting that it's all in their heads, that it's not real. he was actually doing the opposite of how you tell it - he wasn't saying he doesn't have a totality of awareness, but that they're only reacting on their feelings, not the reality."

It was seeing the video where it clicked for me — I mean, it seems entirely reasonable for students of color to not believe they have the same opportunities, since they generally don't. From the news coverage, it sounded like he was validating their concerns; on the video, it was clear he was dismissing them. That makes a lot more sense.
posted by klangklangston at 12:50 PM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Deans, faculty members call for [MU Chancellor] Loftin's dismissal following Wolfe's resignation
posted by aabbbiee at 12:54 PM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Deans, faculty members call for [MU Chancellor] Loftin's dismissal following Wolfe's resignation

Tomorrow: Faculty members, graduate students call for deans' dismissals following Loftin's resignation

Wednesday: Graduate students, undergraduates call for faculty members' dismissals following deans' resignations

Thursday: Undergraduates call for graduate students to lighten the fuck up following faculty members' resignations

Friday: Entire campus hung over, seriously, why you gotta be interviewing me now I'm tired

Saturday: WOO FOOTBALL'S BACK WOO
posted by Etrigan at 12:56 PM on November 9, 2015


I saw Loftin this weekend inside Jesse Hall. He seemed pretty laid back as he chatted with some random person.

Either he'll be gone by the end of the week or the Board of Curators will put their collective foot down and say Wolfe was enough. Incidentally, it would be extremely interesting if the students came out for Loftin, and how that would tangle things up.
posted by Atreides at 1:30 PM on November 9, 2015


Missouri's issues are US issues.

Amen.
posted by teleri025 at 2:01 PM on November 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


According to various journalists on Twitter, Loftin is out too, although he's going to "transition into another role" at the end of the year, rather than outright resigning.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:36 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]






More coverage on Loftin from the student newspaper (which has been doing a great job of reporting this year)
posted by aabbbiee at 2:55 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


There must be some next-level dirt on Loftin for him to resign so quickly. I've worked in academia for about a decade, and haven't seen this level of discontent at a university ever (I'm still a newbie, though; my mom worked in academia for 15 years).

Being a former Missouri resident, and a POC, I was actively discouraged to attend Mizzou. Heck, we didn't even go to Silver Dollar City in Branson because it was an urban legend that some cities in southern Missouri had "sundown" laws - i.e. if you were black, you'd better be out of town by sundown or lynching/shooting/evil things could happen.

Here's the thing: there are so many tensions at play. The townsfolk, who, while needing the students' patronage to simply survive; the students, who haven't felt what our ancestors, my parents and my contemporaries have gone through simply by existing as a black person; and the university, who has to somehow be "in loco parentiis" throughout all of this. Mix in Missouri's history of simply just not talking about racism (or, worse, plain being racist), and this is could get very bad, very quickly. Yeah, the chancellor and the president resigned, but you still have those idiots driving around the campus spitting at SOC and waving Confederate flags, and many of them will be wearing Oxford shirts and Top-Siders.
posted by singmespanishtechno at 3:04 PM on November 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


There must be some next-level dirt on Loftin for him to resign so quickly.

Or he just realizes that he can't fight the tide and if he stepped down now as Chancellor he could still stay on in another role, but if he tried to fight, he'd lose everything.

And every single D1 school saw this -- and saw how effective it was, and counted how much they would lose in a weekend if the football players didn't play. They're paying attention right now.

They're also, I'm certain, trying to find some way to neuter that threat. I fully expect them going to the NCAA to get some rule in place that if you refuse to play your scholarship is automatically revoked and you are banned from D1 play forever, or something like that.

I just don't see the D1 schools leaving that weapon in the hands of the players. What the players need to do is pay attention for the attempt to take it away, and then have *all* of them strike at once.

Look for the Union Label, guys. Together, you're unbeatable.
posted by eriko at 3:29 PM on November 9, 2015 [23 favorites]


This is all so exciting! I'm so glad to see protests actually working. And to have it be young college people who have a lot to lose. Gives me hope for this country.
posted by sio42 at 3:59 PM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm proud of their ability to be a team both on and off the field... If this went badly, students on football scholarships may have lost their scholarship and may have been denied scholarships at other institutions. And I'm sure they all know that. To show this kind of solidarity is... It makes me proud. So proud. I wish we all had that courage.
posted by sio42 at 4:03 PM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Can we not use "Southern" as a synonym for racist?

I assume this references what I said? I was saying that claiming Missouri is not a part of "the South" is a half-truth. And having lived in Columbia and the Ozarks both, I felt they shared a lot of similarities that made them feel very different than KC/STL, which are both more Midwestern, to me. Hell sometimes it even just comes down to how the iced tea is served.

Anyways, I don't want to derail on this, just clarify I consider myself as someone from the South and absolutely do not consider "Southern" to mean racist, and apologize if it came off that way.
posted by joechip at 4:16 PM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Huh, so I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, but the protesters seem to be really anti-media, and it's pissing off reporters who were initially totally sympathetic to them. See, for example, Matt Pearce and Wesley Lowery. Pearce is a graduate of Missouri's journalism program, and they're both people whom I started following because of their coverage of the Ferguson protests.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:49 PM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pearce: Two things to note: 1. Social media means you don't necessarily need media to tell your story. 2. Columbia is home to a million journalists.

video of activists and reporters playing awkward game of "i'm not touching you you're touching me!"
posted by twist my arm at 5:18 PM on November 9, 2015


I was there, and that photographer started the pushing. The protesters had given the media plenty of footage and then retreated to their camp and asked for privacy for a few minutes. Some in the media chose to ignore this request. I helped form the human chain (with other students and staff from the rally) to keep the harassing media out, and I'm in that video. That photographer came up and tried to push through me and another woman like me (we're both older and quite sturdy), didn't get through, and then he moved down the line to try to push past younger, smaller women. He did not have success, but the video conveniently misses the part where he started it. And again there was plenty of time for footage before this happened. These were emotional students and they had asked for privacy.
posted by aabbbiee at 5:35 PM on November 9, 2015 [24 favorites]


(to be clear, i was just dropping in links, not saying who was at fault or pretending i understand the context aabbbiee)
posted by twist my arm at 5:40 PM on November 9, 2015


I get that. We're a big journalism school, so I'm hearing all this crap from people who believe this video without knowing the context. There's a failure there to understand that these student protesters are actual people, and that denying them the privacy they've requested is exploitation. The protesters are under no obligation to be that photographer's meal ticket.
posted by aabbbiee at 5:53 PM on November 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Born and raised in southwest Missouri. I think it is awesome to see this kind of change thanks to Jonathan Butler and Concerned Student 1950. Missouri has many issues all around, but this is a great step forward.
posted by SarahElizaP at 6:32 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The boulder was a memorial for the Confederate dead of the county
vs
I want to point out that Missouri is NOT the South

I know you want to recast this as an everywhere problem, and I agree, but no matter your relation to the Mason-Dixon line, if you've got locals flying the stars and bars with pride, there is a certain southern-ness to Missouri that needs to be acknowledged and then addressed.
posted by thecjm at 7:08 PM on November 9, 2015


googled confederate flag + washington, oregon, new york, michigan, maine, colorado and then i stopped.
posted by twist my arm at 7:32 PM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Okay, as a Missourian born and raised who lived there 30+ years and did a fair amount of work on local history: Cape Girardeau is pretty Southern, Kirksville is more like Iowa, Columbia is somewhere in between, and there are more interesting angles on the subject of the FPP.
posted by thetortoise at 7:45 PM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


aabbbiee: "There's a failure there to understand that these student protesters are actual people, and that denying them the privacy they've requested is exploitation. The protesters are under no obligation to be that photographer's meal ticket."

Parts of my brain are fighting other parts of my brain about this. It strikes me as entitled for a reporter to say, “y’know, I technically have the right to be in this area and take pictures even if you don’t want me to,” but it also strikes me as entitled for protestors to keep journalists out of a public space.

I do understand the desire for a few moments of privacy during an emotional day, and I do think that a journalist who doesn’t understand that is a bit of a dick. But I fear a wall of muscle is a disproportionate response to the dickishness of a few. I may feel differently tomorrow.
posted by savetheclocktower at 7:58 PM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately (not unexpectedly) the student reporter and MSM are already spinning this incident as the activists being anti-free speech. This is going to feed right back into the false rw narrative that students are "too sensitive" and can't handle criticism or coverage.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:11 PM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


The students were in the tents they'd occupied for many days as part of the protest. It was on the campus's South Quad, so I get that it was public space, but surely there's an understanding that occupied tents should be considered private to some degree. I suppose that's an academic question- where does public space become private if people are in tents? Surely it wouldn't be ok for a photographer to push into an occupied tent, even if it's in a public space.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:12 PM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Missouri is the middle of America, if not literally then culturally. Missouri is the plains on its borders with Nebraska and Kansas. Missouri is the midwest on its borders with Iowa and Illinois. And Missouri is most certainly the south on its borders with Arkansas and Tennessee.

Missouri is just west of the western reach of Appalachia, just north of the the Northern tip of the black belt along the Mississippi, just south of the southern edge corn belt, and smack in the middle of the bible belt. Missouri is rural in its middle and metropolitan at its edges, with St. Louis, a city of eastern character, on one end, and Kansas City, a city of western character, on the other.

For a century, 1904-2004, Missouri voted for the winning candidate in all but one presidential election, and that one misfire was by a margin of .22% of the vote. Its trends are the nation's trends. Missouri isn't just the south; Missouri is America in a microcosm.
posted by Ndwright at 8:13 PM on November 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


I agree with you, but unfortunately that's not how it's being seen. The pushing was really obnoxious, imo. Wes Lowery tweeted a more understanding comment later in the evening. But that perspective is not going to be the dominant one unfortunately. Hopefully someone has some video of what the reporter was trying to do.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:16 PM on November 9, 2015


From the NYT: As Missouri Activists Block Journalists, a Divide Over ‘Respect’ and Rights

I certainly understand the activists general distrust of the media. However, now the story at least partially changes to be about this one professor and her call for "muscle" against a reporter which is at least tone deaf and is evidence of Stalinesque tyrannical jackbooted thug overreach if you look in certain fever swamps of opinion. Now it's stories and clutched pearls about how the whole protest movement is against free speech.
posted by ndfine at 8:21 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, I see longdaysjourney posted that NYT link. Should've previewed!
posted by ndfine at 8:22 PM on November 9, 2015


aabbbiee: "I suppose that's an academic question- where does public space become private if people are in tents? Surely it wouldn't be ok for a photographer to push into an occupied tent, even if it's in a public space."

Perhaps not. But if they were standing in front of the entrances of tents, instead of forming a human wall around an outdoor area, I’d be less angsty about this whole thing.
posted by savetheclocktower at 8:47 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The protesters were inside and around the tents. Other students, staff, faculty, and supporters created the human wall to shield them. When the altercation started, some of the protesters came to resist the push-in by the photographer. But they were separate groups and the protesters were not part of the wall initially.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:05 PM on November 9, 2015


"There's a failure there to understand that these student protesters are actual people, and that denying them the privacy they've requested is exploitation. The protesters are under no obligation to be that photographer's meal ticket."

If they've requested privacy, occupying public land is at odds with that request. It's not exploitation to take pictures of the public engaged in a newsworthy event in public.

"The protesters were inside and around the tents."

Those inside tents, if the tent doors were drawn, would have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding their images. Those outside or around tents are still in public. A professor calling for muscle is churlish at best, and is the sort of shit you expect from tea partiers.

You don't have to talk to media, and if you can go inside and not be visible to media, you don't have to use force to prevent the photographer from shooting. Trying to block press photographers from doing their job was something nationally decried when the police in Fergusson did it.
posted by klangklangston at 10:01 PM on November 9, 2015 [22 favorites]


Oh wow, read about this this morning and assumed it would still be some long extended thing. Organzing athletes gets some fucking results. I agree that the NCAA might try to pull something to curtail this, but if that happens, hopefully it will escalate things to a national level. The possibility of what often functions as a conservative force on campus actually being politicized and brought into the student left is super exciting.

As for this little media kerfluffle - meh, I'm always of two minds about these things. Of course the usual suspects are all saying the most inane pearl-clutching bs about 'free speech' and 'safe spaces'. So outwardly, of course you close rank and call out that inanity. But internally, I do hope they realize that this was a pretty serious tactical blunder, and that you can't just blatantly alienate the press like that, as much as you might want to.
posted by goodnight to the rock n roll era at 10:05 PM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


A professor calling for muscle is churlish at best, and is the sort of shit you expect from tea partiers.

Worse, the professor is an assistant professor of mass media. What exactly is she teaching her students, when she isn't busy demanding for "muscle" to deal violently with journalists in a public space?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:13 PM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


"that photographer started the pushing" = wouldn't that be assault, better handled by a police officer than a mob?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:39 AM on November 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


goodnight to the rock n roll era: It wasn't only a tactical blunder (though it was that). Muscling out journalists in a public space doing important work is wrong. They have every right (and a responsibility) to document newsworthy events, and this is certainly newsworthy.

Apparently to be a professor of mass media you don't actually have to respect the rights of journalists.
posted by Justinian at 3:45 AM on November 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can't speak for her, but I've heard she's already receiving death threats.
Journalists who argue for purity of access in cases like this do so from an ivory tower of privilege. These student protesters know, and many of the organizers of the human chain know, that the media will destroy them and will not be there to pick up the pieces afterwards. Arguments for unfettered access ignore the very fight the protesters are fighting, and it doesn't recognize the very real danger they're facing from those who oppose them.
posted by aabbbiee at 3:47 AM on November 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


Access is an issue in private spaces, not public ones.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:53 AM on November 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here are the photos that the photographer, Tim Tai, took for ESPN.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:42 AM on November 10, 2015


I get that. We're a big journalism school, so I'm hearing all this crap from people who believe this video without knowing the context.

Unfortunately outside of student activism circles this is now the main narrative of what happened. The only reason why I learned about the resignation of the president (and how it came about) was to find out more about the "media boycott."
posted by Nevin at 6:18 AM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not that forming the media chain was wrong or anything, it's just how the narrative has played out.
posted by Nevin at 6:19 AM on November 10, 2015


Trying to block press photographers from doing their job was something nationally decried when the police in Fergusson did it.

Do you really not see a difference between protesters dissenting and state-empowered police here?
posted by AceRock at 6:26 AM on November 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Journalists who argue for purity of access in cases like this do so from an ivory tower of privilege.

I believe that tower is called the U.S. Constitution.
posted by stargell at 6:30 AM on November 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


the media will destroy them and will not be there to pick up the pieces afterwards.

Let the media in, and you lose control of the narrative. Block them out, and that becomes the narrative. Sheesh.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:35 AM on November 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Do you really not see a difference between protesters dissenting and state-empowered police here?

I do see a difference between the two groups, yes. But both are attempting to restrict press access to public spaces as a way to control the narrative to their liking. The more that it goes unchallenged when sympathetic groups (the protestors here) do it, the harder it becomes to push back when less sympathetic groups (the police in Ferguson) do it---primarily because treating the two situations differently lends credence to claims by those less-sympathetic groups that they are being targeted because of (presumed) ideological opposition by members of the press.
posted by BlueDuke at 6:42 AM on November 10, 2015 [10 favorites]




In what world are protesters viewed more sympathetically than the police by the culture at large? Police are generally thought of as heroes, protesters as dirty troublemakers.

Moreover, I have never heard of the press complaining about police holding a meeting that is closed to press. Such meetings are held in every police department in publicly-bought-and-paid-for buildings every day of the year, those meetings are basically never open to the press, and not once have I heard anyone from the press raise 1/64th of the stink they're trying to raise here. Protesters deserve the same right to talk amongst themselves as police do.
posted by burden at 7:07 AM on November 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm having a hard time figuring out what's really going on with regard to the media access, but in general, I'm inclined to be on the side of people protesting and putting their personal safety at risk rather than indignant journalists who demand the right to video them 24/7. It seems like a. video had already been taken (so the First Amendment is still safe; reporting on this event was not prevented) and b. further access could likely be negotiated with a little bit of respectful discussion.

It's not like protest groups and people of color haven't been screwed by slanted media reporting in the past.
posted by emjaybee at 7:13 AM on November 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


i knew the "they're no angels" treatment was coming, but it's disappointing to see it argued so forcefully here.
posted by nadawi at 7:29 AM on November 10, 2015 [14 favorites]


Yeah, it's depressing how quickly their supposed allies are selling the protesters down the river over the shitty, stupid "PC police" WHARRGARBL.

Let's all focus on the narrative, everyone. Don't let yourself be distracted by the decades of systemic racism!
posted by zombieflanders at 7:36 AM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think media outlets will run with the press angle, but the football players will remain the bigger story. In left field are the actual protesters, who while having achieved their goals, were pretty much in the process of being ignored by the national media. I definitely think it was the football team's participation which brought down the president and the chancellor and I'm very curious to how things will unfold as two things occur:

1) The football season ends and the boycott card loses its immediate power to damage the vested interests (Mizzou has three weekends left of football unless they can win two of the last three games)?; and two,

2) At what point will the protesters strike camp? Will they issue new demands? Will they remain encamped until somehow guaranteed an active role, which cannot be revoked, in the hiring decisions of the university? (I find it hard to believe the Board of Curators will grant them much if any power or input in this process.)

3) Bonus Question: There's a lot of ignorant statements going around about Mizzou football fans dropping their support based on the boycott. Will there be any tangible impact or is it, as I expect, mostly just hot air?
posted by Atreides at 7:45 AM on November 10, 2015


The football season ends and the boycott card loses its immediate power to damage the vested interests

Yes, but basketball at Mizzou is a much, much bigger thing.
posted by dw at 8:05 AM on November 10, 2015


Yes, but basketball at Mizzou is a much, much bigger thing.
No. Not even close. Football is a religion, basketball is a hobby here.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:13 AM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I hope this protest by the football team makes it easier for NCAA teams in the future to make similar stands when necessary. I think it will - which is a good thing.

The debate over photographer access is frustrating. The protest was on public land, and there are limitations on expectations of privacy in such a setting. He shouldn't have pushed anyone, but also he should not be blocked from accessing public space.
posted by glaucon at 8:17 AM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


What aabbbiee said. Basketball might have once been somewhat important, but a lot of Mizzou basketball fans, whom I work with and know, are pretty much itching for a reason to fire the current coach after a disastrous season last year.

I hope this protest by the football team makes it easier for NCAA teams in the future to make similar stands when necessary. I think it will - which is a good thing.


Definitely. The powers that be probably have not had a good night's sleep since Friday night.
posted by Atreides at 8:18 AM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Definitely. The powers that be probably have not had a good night's sleep since Friday night.
posted by Atreides at 11:18 AM on November 10


And they shouldn't. This is a huge crack in the ceiling for them. There's been a building realization even by hardcore ESPN addicts that the NCAA system in unsustainable. This reaffirms that reality and also highlights the power the students have as free laborers to stand up and speak out about injustice.

I remember reading an Atlantic article a few years ago about the NCAA, and they mentioned there was a team in the elite 8 or Final 4 that was seriously considering withholding from playing to highlight the inequities of the system. The team wasn't named, but it isn't impossible to imagine that scenario actually happening now.
posted by glaucon at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The football season ends and the boycott card loses its immediate power to damage the vested interests

The football season never ends, college or pro. As soon as the clock runs out on the last game of the season, the coaching carousel starts (though that's been accelerated to during the season this year), then the run-up to National Signing Day, then the run-up to the Spring Game, then the long summer of practice reports, and then it's kickoff time again. There are ample opportunities for players to make statements, verbal or otherwise.
posted by Etrigan at 8:27 AM on November 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


yeah, in a town where ncaa football is the biggest thing around, the team never loses their power, for better or for worse.
posted by nadawi at 8:30 AM on November 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I know what it's like to be physically intimidated by people when I've covered events as a photographer. You simply can't set up arbitrary private spaces in public, or get upset when First Amendment protections are applied equally.

And, really, IF ONLY I had the level of power and privilege that people thought I did in those situations...
posted by girlmightlive at 9:19 AM on November 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Powerful truth from a brilliant scholar (who humbly shared these words anonymously).

Except that the NCAA can't afford to. Because if they institute those sorts of policies, they know quite well that they'll be used to illustrate that the relationship between school and athlete is employer/employee. They're very much on the tines of Morton's Fork here.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:21 AM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't speak for her, but I've heard she's already receiving death threats.

I'm not sure what to make of this statement. Are you insinuating that a cabal of journalists is threatening her life? Or some other unnamed party? Why is that relevant to her actions?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:27 AM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


From August to the end of November (for teams not making 6 wins), everything is dialed up to 11 in terms of how important the football team and its actions are. If they don't make a bowl game, the program falls into much of the same category as one's baseball team on the off season. Through December and January, while the team makes noise, there's nothing like the national embarrassment of forfeiting a game or teeing off tens of thousands of fans traveling to Columbia for the game, not to mention all the planning around watching the game on tvs at home or at bars.

The Black/Gold game is a glorified scrimmage that caps the spring practices and generally is not a big economic deal on the same level as a true regular season game. This year, before everything went downhill (and thus, no lowered expectations) 30k people filed into a stadium built to hold approximately 80k fans. In July/August, summer practice begins, but there's no major draw to those practices other than fans following the news on how the team looks.

It's like a tide. From late August through November, the tide comes in, affecting everything on shore and making its presence known. After November, that tide goes out. It's still there, but doesn't hold nearly the importance or attention it would have while in. The football team can definitely make noise, bring good/bad publicity to the program and the school, but the leverage they bring is definitely reduced after their final game of the season and by quite the wide margin. When the game, be it Saturday afternoon or Thursday night, what every fan and advertiser lives for through the course of multiple weekends in a row, is threatened with not happening, then the powers that be will frantically work to make sure it happens.

In the off season, the fervor dies down, alarm over missing THE game shifts into frustration and annoyance of how these actions might affect the games to come months away. Yes, the football team will have a voice, but the volume and its impact will be much less. The fans will demand the administration to put the players in their place (insert any number of complaints made when the topic of compensation comes up) and not to mention, if they do boycott practices and other work outs, for those guys who genuinely believe they have what it takes to make it to the NFL, they will cost themselves that opportunity. They will miss all the conditioning and experience building that will keep them on par with their competitors at the other schools.

Any type of prolonged boycott comes at risk of their own futures. Missing one game, even a non-conference one, jeopardizes it (which makes their decision this last weekend such a big deal on a personal level for them - I'm sure some NFL teams don't want "troublemakers" after all).

In short, football is the king sport, but it does definitely come with waxing and waning power in terms of influencing events.
posted by Atreides at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2015


The First Amendment, in its majestic equality, forbids interference with the press's right to listen to, document, and broadcast private conversations so long as those conversations occur in spaces that the courts have deemed public. By contrast, it has no application to private conversations in spaces deemed by courts as private (even when those spaces are paid for by the public).

Anatole France aside, the press recognizes all the time that groups of people deserve to have private conversations; we don't see many reporters or photographers sneaking or elbowing their way into corporate boardrooms or police briefing rooms or raising a huge stink when they are excluded from such spaces. If they tried to shove their way into them, there would definitely be muscle pushing them out, and somehow this is accepted as the way of the world and no threat to the First Amendment.

By contrast, the Mizzou protesters don't have a boardroom, they have like 20 tents in the quad where they can talk about what has happened, how it makes them feel, and what to do going forward. (Query whether the fact that the protesters don't have a nominally private place to gather might have something to do with racism). The First Amendment doesn't require the protesters to give the press 24/7 access to the place that they have temporarily staked out for themselves, and the press's disproportionate reaction to their attempt to draw some boundaries I think reveals why the protesters were right to try to draw them.
posted by burden at 9:50 AM on November 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


"I can't speak for her, but I've heard she's already receiving death threats.
Journalists who argue for purity of access in cases like this do so from an ivory tower of privilege. These student protesters know, and many of the organizers of the human chain know, that the media will destroy them and will not be there to pick up the pieces afterwards. Arguments for unfettered access ignore the very fight the protesters are fighting, and it doesn't recognize the very real danger they're facing from those who oppose them.
"

Ivory tower of privilege? You can't just invoke that as a Ward of Protection any time you want. The same photographer mentioned getting harassed in Fergusson for taking pictures — his photo of Michael Brown's mother crying won an award.

The media will destroy them? Do those ESPN photos look like they're being destroyed? Or do they look like reasonable coverage of a newsworthy event? Hyperbolic paranoia helps no one.

Arguments for unfettered access — which I haven't seen anyone make here — do not ignore the fight, they hold the fight to the same scrutiny that any newsworthy event deserves.

"Do you really not see a difference between protesters dissenting and state-empowered police here?"

Do you really not see any similarities?

"Moreover, I have never heard of the press complaining about police holding a meeting that is closed to press. Such meetings are held in every police department in publicly-bought-and-paid-for buildings every day of the year, those meetings are basically never open to the press, and not once have I heard anyone from the press raise 1/64th of the stink they're trying to raise here. Protesters deserve the same right to talk amongst themselves as police do."

That you've never heard of the press complaining about holding meetings that are closed to the press means that you have a pretty uninformed opinion about this stuff, since a) police (and all government) meetings are covered by explicit statute, which varies state by state (generally an "open meeting" or "sunshine" law), b) there are usually a couple lawsuits per year that journalists file and police lose over abuse of open meetings, c) police communications are generally not subject to open meetings requirements in two cases: meetings to discuss personnel matters and meetings in which suspects are discussed. The reasons are to protect the rights of employees and people accused of crimes. The protestors are neither. They are also not in an area that traditionally restricts access, are in public view, and are not on property that they themselves own, meaning that they do not have rights to enforce trespass statutes.

So, yes, journalists complain all the time about police illegitimately shielding their records and meetings from coverage (and regularly sue over it); the protections that police (and other governmental organizations) have are predicated on protecting labor and criminal rights; the protestors occupying public space is materially different from restrictions on open records laws for private meetings.

Fundamentally, the photographer has the same rights to be in that space as the protestors do. A failure to recognize this is the same attitude that leads police to view journalists in public space as illegitimate.

"By contrast, the Mizzou protesters don't have a boardroom, they have like 20 tents in the quad where they can talk about what has happened, how it makes them feel, and what to do going forward. (Query whether the fact that the protesters don't have a nominally private place to gather might have something to do with racism)."

If they're inside their tents, they would have a general expectation of privacy from being photographed. Does racism have something to do with whether they can't get a tent big enough to accommodate a meeting?
posted by klangklangston at 9:57 AM on November 10, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'm certainly not hearing the same scolding about "controlling the message" aimed at those white men yesterday, dressed in suits and ties, who gave their prepared readings to the cameras in the conference room in a public university building, and then walked right out the door to make sure that their direct deposits were all squared away for their giant severance packages.

Interesting that the "controlling the message" scolding here has been saved specifically for the Black student protesters on the South Quad who spend a minor fortune to fight their way through their education here.
posted by aabbbiee at 10:02 AM on November 10, 2015 [8 favorites]




Let the media in, and you lose control of the narrative. Block them out, and that becomes the narrative. Sheesh.

Let's all focus on the narrative, everyone. Don't let yourself be distracted by the decades of systemic racism!

it's a complex narrative.
posted by philip-random at 10:10 AM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I'm certainly not hearing the same scolding about "controlling the message" aimed at those white men yesterday, dressed in suits and ties, who gave their prepared readings to the cameras in the conference room in a public university building, and then walked right out the door to make sure that their direct deposits were all squared away for their giant severance packages.

Interesting that the "controlling the message" scolding here has been saved specifically for the Black student protesters on the South Quad who spend a minor fortune to fight their way through their education here.
"

Well, that rather shows the paucity of false equivalencies, doesn't it?

First, people here (I know I do) mostly agree with the protestors desires and tactics. Getting the football team to strike was genius and had a real effect. Hopefully, that continues.

But there's not really any sympathy or desire to have the administration able to better control their messaging. So why would anyone scold them for not doing so?

Second, weird swipes about severance aside, what would have been the alternative? To have those white men break off a racist rant that would have (rightly) inflamed the protestors even more? Yeah, I'm not going to condemn them for that. Are you?

Third, when someone says "Interesting that…" it's a way of arguing by implication rather than taking responsibility for stating your arguments honestly. Say what you mean: That scolding here is racist because it's aimed at the protestors. You'll still be wrong, but you won't be dissembling as well.
posted by klangklangston at 10:14 AM on November 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


"Concerned Student 1950 now welcoming the media on the campus campsite - @ABC17News"

Glad to see they made the right call.
posted by klangklangston at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2015 [6 favorites]




The alternative would be for the press to try to force their way into the office while the prepared statements were being formulated. Or they could have engaged in a day-long protest when they were barred from doing so by campus security muscle paid for on the public dime. Did they not do that? Were such meetings not covered by the open meetings law?
posted by burden at 10:17 AM on November 10, 2015 [3 favorites]




[klang, maybe reel it in some when you're raining rhetorical fire on people you mostly agree with, over a super emotional thing like this.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:19 AM on November 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


occupying a public space and then demanding privacy is direct action, which I'd be a hypocrite to outright condemn. Except it's worth noting, the one individual I've met who took it furthest (and earned five years in jail for his trouble) came to have serious doubts as to its efficacy. Or as he put it, "One thing jail gives you is a lot of time to think, and one thing I've thought about way more than most people, is what Direct Action really means. It means we set the rules here, we decide what's wrong and what's right for this particular situation. Which is fine until some guys on the other side of the fence decide the same thing. Then you've got war."
posted by philip-random at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think Klang's comments point out some hyperbole that is definitely about an emotional subject, but should be heard. The points are valid and respectful. I think that's how people have a conversation about something they disagree on, and I think this needs to happen more often.

Glad to see Concerned Student 1950 made the right call today to be more open. It takes courage to change that. Furthermore, they won the battle this week, so I don't want them to be distracted by that issue and would prefer they keep this momentum going.
posted by glaucon at 10:33 AM on November 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


School of Journalism voting today to decide whether it will strip Click of the courtesy appointment she holds with the school.
A courtesy appointment allows members of one academic unit to serve on the graduate committees of students from other academic units. Click teaches mass media in the Department of Communications, which is part of MU's College of Arts & Science. The School of Journalism is a separate entity.
posted by Atreides at 12:08 PM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


That seems like a no brainer to me. Judging by some of the twitters I read yesterday from folks at the school of journalism they are not happy with Click.
posted by Justinian at 12:26 PM on November 10, 2015


NYT: A History of Racism at the University of Missouri: And passersby in pickup trucks were not the only perpetrators: “I have had a few faculty call me the n-word and treat me with incredible disrespect. Yes, faculty.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:46 PM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


In re the history of racism at UM: I didn't call it out specifically in the OP, but per that "first year that African-American students were allowed to enroll at UM" link, Concerned Student 1950 could have been called Concerned Student 1939, except that Lloyd Gaines vanished into thin fucking air before he could enroll.
posted by Etrigan at 12:56 PM on November 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


@Etrigan: Sounds just like good ol' Missourians to pull shenanigans like that.
posted by singmespanishtechno at 1:54 PM on November 10, 2015


FROM READERS: MU faculty member shares stories of racism, Cynthia Frisby
I have lived in Columbia and been at the university for almost 18 years. During this time, I have been called the n-word too many times to count.

My most recent experience was while jogging on Route K in May of 2015 when I was approached by a white man in a white truck with a Confederate flag very visible and proudly displayed.

He leaned out his window (now, keep in mind I run against traffic, so his behavior was a blatant sign that something was about to happen). Not only did he spit at me, he called me the n-word and gave me the finger.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:25 PM on November 10, 2015


I want to point out that Missouri is NOT the South

This isn't about geography. It's about history. Pretending that Missouri is north of some "Mason/Dixon line" is missing the point that the boundaries of the Civil War passed through Missouri, making it the very embodiment of a "battleground state", particularly when it comes to the hearts and minds of its citizens and their children.
posted by spock at 3:14 PM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Here's an earlier misstep by Wolfe (and probably a big reason that the English Department came out unanimously against him early in the current conflict).
posted by spock at 3:21 PM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lloyd Gaines actually disappeared in Chicago. For one perspective on race problems in Missouri, there's White Man's Heaven, a history of race riots in Southwest Missouri. Disclaimer: My wife wrote this.<>

Also, the School of Journalism ended up voting to discontinue Click's association with the school.

posted by Atreides at 4:35 PM on November 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Let the media in, and you lose control of the narrative. Block them out, and that becomes the narrative. Sheesh.

Let's all focus on the narrative, everyone. Don't let yourself be distracted by the decades of systemic racism!


Up here in Canada we just had a decade of a political group blocking the media out. It was not a good thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:59 PM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Twitter is blowing the fuck up right now because someone has been threatening to shoot black students tomorrow.
posted by desjardins at 9:06 PM on November 10, 2015


KKK reported on Mizzou campus. Black sororities are under lockdown after terrorist threats. This is insane.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:37 PM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also one teacher said this in response to a student asking about an exam that was scheduled. I think it's pretty clear which side he's on.

He ended up having to backpedal pretty darn quick though.
posted by juv3nal at 9:55 PM on November 10, 2015 [7 favorites]




As a professor myself, I cannot understand what an idiot you'd have to be to (a) not let a black student make up a test after weeks of racial tension ending in a thread to shoot a bunch of black students, and then (b) commit it to writing using your university email account. Sweet Christmas, it's only an exam. And that stuff about "standing up to bullies" is really rich.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:15 AM on November 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


As far as the media's concerned... they have every right to capture every moment they can.

However, they do not always have the right to do it from wherever they want to.

The only thing the Constitution states is that the federal government won't pass any laws restricting their abilities. It doesn't say anything about things that are not the federal government. It's not at all uncommon to restrict media from entering public spaces during certain temporary events both by private entities as well as state and local governments.

You know, for a group of people who are such big fans of the press and freely sharing information... you'd think they'd already be aware of this.

tl;dr: You wanna take pictures? Sure, you can do it all you want. From over there.
posted by Blue_Villain at 5:34 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


You wanna take pictures? Sure, you can do it all you want. From over there.

In the context of this incident, I don't think you are correct. Did you read Klang's comments above? And here is a different view from yours:

"Legally, the photojournalist [Tai] was on completely rock-solid ground,” said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. “That’s not debatable at all.” The entire episode unfolded in the middle of a public quad at a public university. The protesters had every right to camp out and rally, and Tai had every right to take photos, he said.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:46 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


However, they do not always have the right to do it from wherever they want to.
They did, however, have a right to do it from where they were doing it in this particular instance. The protesters made a small misstep in trying to block the press, and they seem to realize it and have changed their policies. I really don't think there's anything to be gained from discussing it any more. It's a distraction from the central issues.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:47 AM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


University of Missouri Authorities Apprehend Suspect Behind Social Media Threats. At least they're not saying that they can't do anything about it because they don't understand the internets, I guess.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:48 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


KKK reported on Mizzou campus.

It should also be emphasized that this claim was retracted.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:54 AM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]




Jelani Cobb, as usual, absolutely nails it:
The default for avoiding discussion of racism is to invoke a separate principle, one with which few would disagree in the abstract—free speech, respectful participation in class—as the counterpoint to the violation of principles relating to civil rights. This is victim-blaming with a software update, with less interest in the kind of character assassination we saw deployed against Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown than in creating a seemingly right-minded position that serves the same effect.
posted by AceRock at 7:13 AM on November 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


They did, however, have a right to do it from where they were doing it in this particular instance. The protesters made a small misstep in trying to block the press, and they seem to realize it and have changed their policies. I really don't think there's anything to be gained from discussing it any more. It's a distraction from the central issues.

I have to disagree, because I think it actually illustrates the issues at hand. Did the journalist have the legal right to go in and take those pictures? Yes. But was he in the moral right in doing so? For me, that's a much murkier question, and one that keeps being studiously avoided by the focus on what his legal rights are. As people have pointed out, there's a long history of that sort of journalism turned against the powerless, so there are legitimate fears that it could be used as a weapon against them.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:59 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


From Cobb's article, which is excellent: The freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:55 AM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


The protesters made a small misstep in trying to block the press, and they seem to realize it and have changed their policies. I really don't think there's anything to be gained from discussing it any more. It's a distraction from the central issues.

Hmm. I feel like that moment was a flashpoint for what is a real undercurrent of tension between activism and the press that is probably worth talking about, too. Right here? I dunno. Somewhere.
posted by Chutzler at 9:34 AM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Did the journalist have the legal right to go in and take those pictures? Yes. But was he in the moral right in doing so? For me, that's a much murkier question, and one that keeps being studiously avoided by the focus on what his legal rights are. As people have pointed out, there's a long history of that sort of journalism turned against the powerless, so there are legitimate fears that it could be used as a weapon against them.

Probably because thinking otherwise would conflict with my politics, but I'm seeing a glaring lack of perspective. This one incident doesn't mean that CS1950 is going to become Stephen Harper, it doesn't mean, "you know who else restricted the press?" should be taken seriously, and it's simply not the same as a government restricting press access. So this person didn't get the 100% access they wanted and someone in a (perhaps self-appointed) protective role said something on camera: "muscle." Well, we know where that word comes from, right? Gangs.

Long story short, it's not a tempest in a teapot for those with imaginations and an ability to extrapolate. That's not enough for me to think that press restrictions are sweeping the nation any more than they already were.
posted by rhizome at 9:50 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sure, I agree with that, Chutzler. It just seems like for a minute that discussion threatened completely to drown out every other aspect of this story. It's an important question. It's not the only important question, and I'm not even sure it's the main important question at the moment.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:04 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]




Oh, and here's the new attack - turns out that the graduate student that did the hunger strike, Jonathan Butler, is the scion of a wealthy family.

So this is a sign of the ignoring of class issues.

(headdesk)
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:52 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh for fuck's sake.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:58 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, and here's the new attack - turns out that the graduate student that did the hunger strike, Jonathan Butler, is the scion of a wealthy family.

So this is a sign of the ignoring of class issues.


It's almost as if .... various elements of overarching power structures ...combine and interact in some ways .... I wonder if there's some word to express this?

Convergenceness? Joiningy? Conciding? Adjoinition?

hmmm...

hmmmmmmm..........
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:09 PM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Open up a front and the hits just keep coming. IMO, the most powerful response is, "so?"

"If the teacher had been a police officer that photographer would be dead right now."
posted by rhizome at 1:06 PM on November 11, 2015




An essay on Student Activism Is Serious Business by Roxane Gay
We have new cause to think about student activism, race, and the continuation of the civil rights movement because of concurrent and related student protests at both the University of Missouri and at Yale University. Of late, there has been a lot of talk about college students and their curious ways, about how they are intensely politically correct, overly sensitive, and unduly coddled. Some have suggested that students are frivolous activists, that they no longer have senses of humor, and that liberalism has run amok on college campuses, ruining them in the process. This is a reductive and rather lazy understanding of student activism.

In the protests at Mizzou and Yale and elsewhere, students have made it it clear that the status quo is unbearable. Whether we agree with these student protesters or not, we should be listening: They are articulating a vision for a better future, one that cannot be reached with complacency.
posted by Fizz at 2:55 PM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


What a complete shitshow on every front.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:13 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


""If the teacher had been a police officer that photographer would be dead right now.""

That same photographer was challenged by the police in Fergusson.

It was a bad, dumb look for the protestors; they've recognized that and changed their relationship with the media. How about we recognize that the protestors don't have to be perfect to have a legitimate and effective direct action and move on from trying to make up excuses and justifications for their gaffe? It's not like their message was seriously compromised, and I'm hoping that their strategy of athletic strikes spreads to other schools and sports.

This can be a John Carlos/Tommie Smith moment. Let's let it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:14 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


"We have new cause to think about student activism, race, and the continuation of the civil rights movement because of concurrent and related student protests at both the University of Missouri and at Yale University. Of late, there has been a lot of talk about college students and their curious ways, about how they are intensely politically correct, overly sensitive, and unduly coddled. Some have suggested that students are frivolous activists, that they no longer have senses of humor, and that liberalism has run amok on college campuses, ruining them in the process. This is a reductive and rather lazy understanding of student activism."

I've been enjoying hearing more about campus activism over the last couple years, especially because it seems like a swing back from the consumer nihilism that characterized a lot of the early/mid-2000s on campuses. Growing up in Ann Arbor, the '60s are lionized like whoa, but a shift toward wealthier students and a sense that activism was passe seemed to pervade recent classes.
posted by klangklangston at 3:16 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]






As people have pointed out, there's a long history of that sort of journalism turned against the powerless

I'm not sure what this is referring to. Historically, journalism has been one of the only institutions defending the powerless from the powerful.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 4:23 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love Roxane Gay's take on the "weaponizing safe space" article:
In The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf took offense to some of the people involved in the protest, labeling them intolerant. “They’re behaving more like Reddit parodies of ‘social-justice warriors’ than coherent activists, and I suspect they will look back on their behavior with chagrin,” he wrote, espousing the curious notion that protest should be a polite and demure endeavor that pleases everyone.
This generation of student activists, particularly the ones involved in Black causes, keeps getting hit with this nonsense from the white older generations. They're not doing protest right, as though the lionized form of '60s protest to which klangklangston refers was polite and well-received, as though the goal of student action is not to make the students heard but to do something that will look nice in the history books.
posted by thetortoise at 4:36 PM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


As people have pointed out, there's a long history of that sort of journalism turned against the powerless

I'm not sure what this is referring to. Historically, journalism has been one of the only institutions defending the powerless from the powerful.


It certainly can be, and often is. But it isn't always.
You haven't heard the "Beyond Vietnam" speech on network news retrospectives, but national media heard it loud and clear back in 1967 — and loudly denounced it. Life magazine called it "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi." The Washington Post patronized that "King has diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people."

In his last months, King was organizing the most militant project of his life: the Poor People's Campaign. He crisscrossed the country to assemble "a multiracial army of the poor" that would descend on Washington — engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol, if need be — until Congress enacted a poor people's bill of rights. Reader's Digest warned of an "insurrection."
posted by Etrigan at 4:43 PM on November 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Historically, journalism has been one of the only institutions defending the powerless from the powerful.
Yeah, no. Journalists like to think that they comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, but the reality has always been much, much more complicated than that. Activists have good reasons to distrust journalists.

A statement from the MU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. I don't know if this has been said explicitly in this thread, but part of what's going on here is that the University of Missouri has one of the best undergraduate journalism programs in the country, and there are a lot of professional-level journalists in the student body and a lot of Missouri graduates in the ranks of professional journalists.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:44 PM on November 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Without journalists and the media, this protest would not have the national attention that it does and would not have gained the traction that it has.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 4:48 PM on November 11, 2015


I don't think anyone will argue that journalism is never beneficial to social progress, but it's not always beneficial to social progress either.
posted by Etrigan at 4:51 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


If some journalists are waiting for the proper amount of obeisance paid before they'll do their duty in covering these actions, they'll be waiting a long time, because these students are smart and know how to use Twitter and many of this bunch at Mizzou are already significant journalists in their own right, as ArbitraryAndCapricious points out. They don't owe anything to anyone.
posted by thetortoise at 4:56 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


If some journalists are waiting for the proper amount of obeisance paid before they'll do their duty in covering these actions, they'll be waiting a long time

What does this even mean? This is one of the top stories in news outlets across the country.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 4:59 PM on November 11, 2015


That's what I'm saying; the commentators who believe they're showing some kind of solidarity to Tim Tai by making the entire story about one video and criticizing the students as not respecting the media are missing the point. Well, missing the point at best; I think most of the writers belaboring that video are conservative concern trolls and oppose what the students are doing anyway.
posted by thetortoise at 5:11 PM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


the university of arkansas interim chancellor released a statement inspired by these events. i especially like this part :
The struggles at Missouri should cause all Americans to look at how they are doing in their fight for equality and respect as espoused in our country’s Declaration of Independence. Everyone on the University of Arkansas campus community should also stop to look at where we are, as a campus and as an institution, in recognizing that we can never relent in our fight to make each Razorback feel that he or she is wanted, needed and respected, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic that does not define or limit our humanity. We should do it not because of the difficulties at Missouri, but because it is the right thing to do.
posted by nadawi at 5:20 PM on November 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


Explicitly requesting the media to attend, then blockading the media, then bullying the media, and then threatening the media with physical violence all while it's being filmed… are you sure that "smart" is the word that best describes this?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:40 PM on November 11, 2015


are you sure that "smart" is the word that best describes this?

How Tim Tai was treated? No. The organization of the protests, the football strike, solicitation of faculty support, the hunger strike, use of social media to call attention to racist incidents and disseminate information, how quickly and effectively Wolfe's resignation was achieved? Yes. Collective action is messy. I really don't want to get sucked into a replay of every conversation I had with a conservative St. Louisan after Ferguson ("but why did they break the windows, though") so personally I'm going to leave this here.
posted by thetortoise at 6:11 PM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think most of the writers belaboring that video are conservative concern trolls

Wow, there's quite a divide here. I participate in a Facebook group devoted to "engaged journalism" and this was obviously a big topic of conversation. I can assure you that many of the journalists who were "concerned" were not trolls. They just wanted to be able to do their jobs. But at the same time there was a lot of discussion about how to build trust with the community you are reporting on.

After the social media storm died down and the 1950 group circulated the memo that journalists should not be intimidated etc, I think the consensus was that the real story was the achievements of the 1950 group, not the (brief) attempt to shut out journalists.

But I don't think it was concern trolling or whatever by conservatives.
posted by Nevin at 6:42 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


It looks like the guy who sent the threats posted to the "TumblrInAction" subreddit (which is notorious for being a hate sub), including boasting about his trolling. And now there's another white dude who sent racist threats to a Missouri university although the police aren't sure if they were aimed specifically at Mizzou.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:19 AM on November 12, 2015


Journalist Terrell Jermaine Starr explains why black protesters might have cause to mistrust journalists. I honestly was surprised at the lack of understanding here; we've definitely discussed the ways journalism is biased by racism, just like any other institution is, here on the blue.

Paula Young Lee has a good take on it as well.

It clearly didn't take much effort to get past this impasse, and the larger story is still what the students are doing, but I think going forward, there needs to be more discussion among white journalists about these issues, and that discussion does NOT need to be "how dare black people say no to us." Journalists need to take responsibility for the ways journalism has been a weapon as well as a help to people of color. How can you expect them to trust you if you won't even start from there?

It's not like any group of protesters wants to be ignored by the media. But a more nuanced understanding of their history and concerns can only enrich the stories being told.
posted by emjaybee at 7:41 AM on November 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Last night, the sign for the Black Culture Center was vandalized by someone painting over the "Black" in the sign.

As I scan through social media, spotting what people say and what they link, the conservative backlash has officially hit the bottom of the barrel with a conservative sports writer asking the question, "Is the entire Mizzou Protest Based on Lies?"
posted by Atreides at 8:14 AM on November 12, 2015


I love how that article reads like, "Is the entire Mizzou protest based on LIES?! ...Nah, probably not. The hunger striker guy is rich, though."
posted by thetortoise at 8:39 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


More threats of violence, this time at Howard University in DC, which is a HBCU.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:55 AM on November 12, 2015


Ryan Famuliner post a helpful article on KBIA (mid-Missouri Public Radio) entitled 4 Things You Might Have Wrong about the Mizzou Story:
The problem with the 24-hour news cycle is that context often gets lost in the shuffle, and this story has LOTS of context. Even people who live in the Mid-Missouri community are a little confused by how this story has played out because it’s incredibly nuanced and been ongoing for months.
Principal of a local high school gave this thoughtful message to students:
I am reminded that Hickman High School does not exist in a bubble, and you too have been engaging in similar dialogue. As we continue to have conversations among ourselves, I want us to remember that we all have varied social experiences that influence our stance on these topics. Let us remain respectful of one another’s thoughts, make the issues the focal point rather than the person you’re conversing with, and frame and present your thoughts as your own personal beliefs because we can only truly speak for ourselves. Angry commentary does not yield positive progress—Feelings of guilt immobilize us and are therefore futile— and two mouths speaking simultaneously often means no ears are listening.
posted by flug at 11:29 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Angry commentary does not yield positive progress—Feelings of guilt immobilize us and are therefore futile— and two mouths speaking simultaneously often means no ears are listening.

I appreciate the idealism, but it feels a little tone-deaf and contradicts pretty much every single aspect of the media landscape in these students' lives.
posted by rhizome at 1:17 PM on November 12, 2015


"As I scan through social media, spotting what people say and what they link, the conservative backlash has officially hit the bottom of the barrel with a conservative sports writer asking the question, "Is the entire Mizzou Protest Based on Lies?""

Please, no one give Jason Whitlock any more page views. Ever.

"Paula Young Lee has a good take on it as well. "

Yer link's busted. Try again?
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on November 12, 2015


Please, no one give Jason Whitlock any more page views. Ever.

This is Clay Travis, who usually spends his time making outrageous comments about other college football teams in the SEC. That post by Whitlock was another article I saw making the rounds through my more conservative friends.

Elsewhere in the news, the fellow who made the infamous film, made a complaint against Click alleging 'simple assault' with the campus police, and a former dean of the university, has reported Click and Basler for Title IX violations.
posted by Atreides at 2:43 PM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates on quite a lot but I'm diverging on the subject of "hope". The Atlantic put up an excellent summit on Race and Justice today with a variety of panelists from various areas with differing opinions which was great. Watch it. The last panel dealt with hope as it relates to dismantling the various tentacles of white supremacy. It featured TNC and a gentleman who pastors a church in Anacostia. I was not convinced by his presentation in the least bit. I see no good reason to believe in this specious hope that one day, the various tentacles of white supremacy that haunts the lives of black people in this country will be dismantled. I see no reason. This is a country where the majority has steadfastly refused to even engage with its own history in a meaningful and honest way. If a country refuses to reckon with its past, how can you realistically expect any sort of meaningful change? I just don't understand this hope that too many black people have. I just don't see a reason for it or maybe I should see I see no good reason to have this specious hope. Does that mean we give up? No! I believe that the struggle is all we get in the here and the now. The fight to lead the most decent lives that we can in a way that helps to uplift each other as we go. After that, we end up in a box and that's the end. I believe we should deal with reality as it presents itself without the crutch of hope. We should not indulge in a fantasy that we tell ourselves here. The reality of it based on the evidence that we have now is that this is the America that we have and most likely will have for a very long time, at least through my lifetime. It may change for the better in the future but again, that's not a given and there's no good reason to believe that. MLK was a man ahead of his time but he was wrong in one aspect. His dream was really just a dream. Nothing else.
posted by RedShrek at 10:22 PM on November 12, 2015






I knew if I waited long enough, someone else would write something that better unpacked an area of my thoughts. This piece is long and discusses a lot of other things, but it covers Mizzou:
Access Denied
Cooperation was never the default. But the calculation changes significantly when news outlets have less to offer. A protester might consciously accept the risk of a quote being included in a less sympathetic story if that story is the best or only way to raise awareness for a cause. That same protester, in a world in which the local paper can no more guarantee a large audience than a few dozen sympathetic Twitter users, might tell a reporter who she knows is going to have to write an on-the-one-hand story, or something that would be, in her view, worse—something condescending or racist, for example—to fuck right off. The reporter’s response, that he’s just doing his job (as in the Mizzou incident), will ring hollow, because it demands the protester accept premises about The Press that she might… not. It assumes a situation in which he is able to provide some sort of access to audience and legitimacy; it says, implicitly, that he is about to record history and represent it to the masses, so she’d better let him get her side of the story. This might sound absurd to a subject who came to a protest not because of a story from a publication, but because of a post from an activist on Twitter.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:50 PM on December 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


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