Students at Eastern gave their feelings and opinions about the recent controversy at the University of Missouri, with some saying the situation gave the Mizzou students a chance to get their voices heard.
The president of the University of Missouri Tim Wolfe resigned from his position Monday, because opposition to his leadership had reached a new high, according to the New York Times.
This came from what some students at Mizzou have called his inaction when it came to racial issues on the university’s campus.
Emmanuel Boyd, a junior special education major, said the president resigning might have saved the school from getting a bad reputation.
“He gave the students wanted they wanted,” Boyd said.
Boyd said if Wolfe had handled the problem earlier, it probably would not have come to him losing his job.
Jonathan Butler, a graduate student in education leadership and policy analysis at Mizzou, had been going on a hunger strike. Butler said he would end the strike and eat again when Wolfe had left his job.
The student government of Mizzou also demanded Wolfe be removed, as well as players on the football team saying they would not play while he was in office.
Students at Eastern, such as Shawn Allen, a senior political science major, said they were surprised by the impact the students had.
“I am aware of the level of importance this issue has raised, but I was not aware it would go to this level,” Allen said.
Allen knew it was a big issue, and had seen students becoming aware of it, but said he did not think the university knew what a big issue it was.
Allen said he thinks it was a great way to get awareness of the subject out, especially to those who had not seen what was going on.
“I think it sends the message that your voice does matter and your voice is very powerful,” Allen said. “That’s all it takes to get an issue to the surface, because a lot of issues go unnoticed—we have to use our voice.”
Allen said it would take consistency for a protest of this level to happen.
“I don’t think it could happen overnight,” Allen said. “As for the hunger strike, it took many days for him to gain the level of awareness he had in mind.”
Allen said the hunger strike was a unique way of gaining awareness.
“Eating is one of the most important things to survival, so I think it was a big, great thing he did,” Allen said. “I think that stood out a lot in people’s head.”
Allen said he has seen a lot of awareness campaigns and a lot of resolutions from college students in the last four years, but not at the same level of Mizzou’s.
“Hats off to Mizzou students for believing in a cause,” Allen said.
Jerome Hampton Jr., a sophomore business management major, said he was glad the students had taken some action.
“A lot of times, people complain and don’t do anything,” Hampton said. “If they got the president to resign, their voice definitely got heard.”
Hampton said while it was shocking what happened, the lengths people would go to get their voice heard cannot be underestimated.
Sarah Grace Taylor, a junior special education major, has a cousin who goes to the Mizzou and had written her a long text message that morning about the president’s resignation.
Taylor said her cousin was freaked out because of the protests going on.
“I think she is mostly scared there’s going to be violence on campus, or violent protests or something,” Taylor said.
Taylor said she was sure having a president resign was unnerving.
“She’s pretty upset about it,” Taylor said. “I know that there’s probably a lot of people who say they’re overreacting, but I think when you look at what’s going on, in Ferguson and all the black kids who are getting killed by the police, I think they have every right to be upset and fight back.”
Taylor said if people of color say there is a problem, people who are white need to listen and respond to what they are saying.
“I don’t think it’s up to us to say it’s not happening,” Taylor said. “And I don’t think the situation would have gotten where it is if he had done something about it and made them feel like he was making it better.”
Taylor said it was a bold move the students made.
“There’s another civil rights movement (building), and it’s a necessary one,” Taylor said.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]