University of Missouri football players on strike until president removed

University of Missouri Football Team (Photo Source: Twitter-@MizzouLBC )
University of Missouri Football Team (Photo source: [email protected] )

Football players at the University of Missouri are taking a stand against racial injustice on the campus. The players are demanding the resignation of the school’s president, Tim Wolfe, over the systematic racism that they say exists at the university and Wolfe’s failure to address the issue.  The students number about 30 and have stated they will not play another game until Wolfe resigns. The team tweeted a picture of themselves linking arms, writing on Twitter, “We are no longer taking it,” and “It’s time to fight.” The student-athletes have stated that they are standing with the campus group “Concerned Student 1950 Movement.” The group was founded in 1950 when Blacks were first allowed to attend the University of Missouri. Most of the Black players are from the Ferguson and the surrounding St. Louis area where the killing of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown led to protests.

Complaints and evidence of racist attacks have included a swastika drawn in feces on a dorm wall where black students live as well as people screaming the N-word at students as they are walking on campus. One particular event that showed the level of racist hatred on the campus was when the Black Culture Center opened and someone spread cotton balls around the building. But the football players are not the only ones protesting for the ouster of Wolfe.  Grad student Jonathan L. Butler, 25, has been on a hunger strike for the past seven days. He has described his condition as follows “My body feels like it’s on fire … I have pain all over. I’m exhausted. Of course, I’m hungry. I’ve got an ongoing headache. I already feel like campus is an unlivable space. So it’s worth sacrificing something of this grave amount, because I’m already not wanted here. I’m already not treated like I’m a human.”

School Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin  issued a statement expressing concern for Butler’s health and that he agreed that “Racism has deep roots at our university.” and promised to “find solutions” to “make our university an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.”

It was reported that Wolfe was confronted by students at a fundraiser and asked what he thought systematic oppression was. Wolfe responded by saying, “I will give you an answer and I’m sure it will be a wrong answer. … Systematic oppression is because you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success.” The students were outraged by his response in essence blaming them for racism on campus.

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