|Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-16 02:56Z by Steven|
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies
Imagine what could happen at Ohio State or UCLA or any other major university. The activists already have.
What happened at the University of Missouri has sent shockwaves throughout this country: A startling coalition of students and faculty just forced the top leadership of the University to resign. The students had had enough. A swastika drawn with human feces on a residential dorm was the latest incident in a long list of ugly incidents, which made it clear that some people believed that black students did not belong at the University of Missouri. The image and the medium spoke volumes about those who composed it.
President Wolfe’s tepid response sealed his fate, but as with every other issue involving race in America, change is never given; it must always be won. And the student protests, Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike, the faculty’s threat of a walk out, and the strike among black football students announced that a new wave of campus activism has arrived, armed with the power to bring real change. The nation has been put on notice.
We have seen something like this before. In 1968 and 1969, black students organized protests across some two hundred campuses in the United States. These were among the first significant wave of black students on predominantly white campuses, and they brought with them the energy and expectation of the black freedom movement—particularly the militancy of Black Power. They pushed for the hiring of black faculty, argued for an increase in financial aid for African American students, and pressed administrators to support black living spaces. In short, they challenge the whiteness of American universities and colleges…
…What we saw in Columbia, Missouri, was something different. There was nothing nostalgic about it. The protests were decidedly of this moment. These students are shaped by the startling contrast of the nation’s first black president and the black lives matter movement. They have seen the viral videos of police brutality, and many have watched family and friends struggle to recover from the economic devastation that has left their lives in shambles. They have witnessed, some even participated in, the convulsions of Ferguson and Baltimore…
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