Op-Eds Opinion

The Missouri Victory and Missouri Loss

Alex Thomas
Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.

If you don’t think that the athletics on a campus don’t have power, then you need to think again. The University of Missouri is a prime example of the power of college athletics. This past Monday, the football team was the key in a massive victory for the student body.

No one, myself included, heard about what was going on at that campus until Saturday night when the football team went on strike, refusing to play or practice, until the president of the University resigned. On Monday, less than 48 hours after turning up the heat, President Tim Wolfe announced he was stepping down. The amount of press and attention that was put on the situation, thanks to this move by the football team, a usually strong SEC program, proved to be the final blow.

What was this all about, anyways? Well, according to the New York Times, there were months of protests from both students and faculty over racial tensions at the school. The school’s student body president is black, and he had numerous racial slurs hurled at him according to that same New York Times piece. While that’s a pretty big deal, it paled in comparison to the reaction of the administration on campus to the incident.

Absolutely nothing. That’s right, school administration did nothing about this. They even received complaints that they were not taking this serious. There was the report of a protest having a truck with a Confederate flag flying in the back driving through it, and then the report of the swastika being drawn on a dorm wall.

None of this is new either, the Times article and many others have cited that these racial tensions extend back decades. In the year 2015, this is unacceptable. Yelling racial slurs, drawing a swastika, it’s unnecessary and quite frankly upsetting. None of this should be occurring , students should not feel threatened and uncomfortable at a place of learning.

The fact that nothing was done, the fact that administration didn’t take this serious enough, means change was needed. Good for the students of the campus and the faculty for standing up, and credit to the football team for using their star power for the greater good of the community.

Wolfe stepping down is a very big win for the University of Missouri students and faculty. The culture there, from what we can see on the outside, was toxic. When students feel threatened, that’s a massive problem. It’s a real victory for the community there, and hopefully the end of racial tension.

That being said, there was quite a defeat for the faculty in the midst of their victory. I’d like you to meet Melissa Click, a media professor on the campus. She’s in hot water, and rightfully so, for what she was caught on camera doing. Tip of the hat to Barstool Sports, who were the first to report what has now been picked up by the New York Times, Fox News and CNN among many others.

The protests that helped oust the school’s President were held in public, outside, on a state school’s grounds. Tax payers fund that people, this is a public domain. A student photographer, presumably a student in the journalism major there, was assigned to get photos of the protests. This is nothing new, they were in public. We covered this on SCTV3 when there was the demonstration outside of the Student Union earlier this year. This is standard First Amendment rights, you cannot infringe the freedom of the press.

This media teacher did EXACTLY that. In a video, you can clearly hear her tell the photographer that he was not allowed to be there, which he rightly responds with a yes, yes he can. The teacher can then be heard calling for muscle to remove the student there taking pictures for the STUDENT MEDIA.

Call it bias, call it whatever you will, but I find this very, very wrong. I understand wanting privacy, but if that’s the case don’t hold it outside in public and don’t ask major news networks to cover it two days earlier. That’s just hypocritical and unfair to a student doing his job. It’s also baffling how this media teacher did this to a student presumably in her field.

How do you have faith in that program when the faculty are suppressing their own students?

The COSJ faculty here might not always like the angle we take on a story, but they ALWAYS have our back. This faculty member ran the bus over her student in this case. That’s unfair and the issue needs more attention.

I’m happy for the University of Missouri. There was clearly a problem on that campus and they banded together to fix it. That’s powerful, it really is. That being said, this faculty member did something wrong as well, and should absolutely have to face the consequences for it. If I was a student in that program I know I would want that professor gone.

A great victory, no, a monumental victory, was achieved by this University. Let’s hope they go two for two when dealing with this faculty member.

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