Monday, November 16, 2015

Lee's Summit Republican: Our university cannot be run by those making demands

(From Rep. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee's Summit)

I have had many constituents contact me to express their concerns over this unrest in Columbia and the future of the University of Missouri. As reported by the national media, the University of Missouri has experienced unrest with the student body over issues of racial tolerance, inclusion and diversity on campus. The protests made by students, as well as some faculty, were targeted at what they saw as a lack of leadership from MU System President Tim Wolfe and MU Chancellor Bowen Loftin. After several protests, a hunger strike by an MU graduate student, and a boycott by the football team, both Wolfe and Loftin made the decision to resign their positions.

I agree with many of my colleagues in believing that there needs to be a meaningful dialogue and take concrete action so every student at the University of Missouri feels safe and welcome. At the same time, I agree with Lt. Governor Peter Kinder when he said, “Racism has no place in our public institutions. Those individuals responsible for recent acts should be found out and given no reprieve. We mustn't, however, allow the abhorrent acts of a dissident few to drive the actions that decide the future of our state University.” He went on to add, “Student concerns must be listened to and heard out. There is a process for that. However, our universities cannot be run by individuals' making demands or using extreme actions. The Board of Curators is in place to make informed decisions and govern, and they must be free to do so. Otherwise chaos ensues, and no student is served by that.”

Hopefully with the change of leadership, the University can begin the healing process. The new leadership has to implement university policies that create an academic atmosphere promoting racial tolerance and diversity, as well as, an environment that is safe and conducive to learning. My colleagues and I are eager to review the actions of the new leadership to help revive the University of Missouri to the prestigious institution we know and love.

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