Letter to the Editor: An open letter to President Mun Choi

MU administration must address student demands, or civil unrest will continue.

Letters to the editor are submitted from outside The Maneater and do not represent the view of the newspaper, editorial board or staff.

Dear President Choi,

We are an anonymous collective of students that have watched the administration of this university ignore our voices for over 100 years. This extends far past your time as UM System president, but we are calling upon you to bring an end to it now. MU moves to address problems at a glacial pace, if at all. It is time that student voices are not just heard, but are put at the forefront of every decision affecting our well-being.

On March 5, 2021, we placed signs on campus landmarks. Before classes started that morning, the signs had already been taken down and were never publicly addressed.

March 5 was one of the most harmless forms of protest. MU covered it up. Therein lies the problem we seek to address. This is one example of many of MU’s choices to ignore the voices of students. This campus has a beautiful history of civil protest, many of which have gone unaddressed at best and actively subdued at worst. In the past year alone, students have come together in an effort to combat MU’s oppressive and discriminatory behavior, while simultaneously voicing concerns about public health and safety.

In 1969, the Legion of Black Collegians created a list of demands that were given to campus administration to aid in the betterment of Black students, faculty and staff. Nearly 50 years later, Concerned Student 1950 came together to reaffirm the original list, along with their additions, in an attempt to counter the racial injustice still being experienced on this campus in 2015.

This year, Mizzou 600 spoke out addressing the same unmet concerns, while confronting the racist relics of Thomas Jefferson that stand on our campus. How did MU react? By threatening repercussive action against the students that protested the administration's choice to place a $22,000 acrylic shield over the Thomas Jefferson Grave Monument.

All the while, in the midst of societal outcry in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, MU’s performative activism only further reveals their inability to understand how their systems perpetuate these same issues.

You, President Choi, demanded the loyalty of faculty and staff, threatening their positions with the university should they refuse to stand in agreement with these negligent decisions. It has even gone to the degree of demoting faculty who have been integral to the growth of this institution.

The administration also failed to address concerns regarding COVID-19 on this campus. Now, after 13 months of inaction, MU students are finally gaining access to vaccines; however, this does not excuse the lack of testing or resources provided to students in the past year. A last-minute effort does not justify the treatment of those who have suffered.

Both of these issues suggest a much larger problem in that students’ voices are not being represented, validated or prioritized in spaces where decisions are being made — alongside you and the Board of Curators. In order to make amends for the injustice and pain suffered by your students, we have collected a list of expectations. If these are not met by Fall 2021, MU’s campus will see continuous efforts of civil unrest.

We have existed with this university for generations, standing on guard to protect the students and their interests. We will not go away; our voices will not be silenced. We are calling on students across campus to watch carefully and speak out against this all-too-common theme of disregard for student lives.

Students:

This is a call to action. Your voice holds so much more power than you are led to believe. Use it. This is your campus, and you have every right and every capacity to be a part of the force that shapes our community. We must hold the expectation that our voice is integral in decisions that affect our everyday lives. Help us lead the movement toward transparency so that we can receive the respect we deserve, the university takes responsibility for its actions, students and administration can form a partnership to discover more effective solutions and promote excellence for all students.

Sincerely, TSD

If you would like to submit a letter to the editor, email your submission to letters@themaneater.com

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