From the University of Missouri comes a powerful and refreshing story of pride.
Players on the university's football team, almost 30 of them, have announced that they will boycott games and practice unit the school's president resigns, or is removed, over what's being called mishandling of race issues.
The photo consists of some of the players who are united in the protest, which comes a week after student Jonathan Butler went on hunger strike to demand the removal of President Tim Wolfe.
Students of been complaining about poor responses to racism on campus, including a swastika which was placed in a dorm.
In a statement, President Wolfe said the following:
Today I again had the opportunity to meet with MU graduate student Jonathan Butler who continues a hunger strike protesting the inequalities, inequities, and obstacles faced by students, faculty and staff at the University of Missouri. I am very concerned about Jonathan’s health. His voice for social justice is important and powerful. He is being heard and I am listening. I am thankful for the leadership provided by him and the other student leaders in raising awareness of racism, injustice, and intolerance. This afternoon I also met with representatives of several student groups and I value their input and hear their voices.
Racism does exist at our university and it is unacceptable. It is a long-standing, systemic problem which daily affects our family of students, faculty and staff. I am sorry this is the case. I truly want all members of our university community to feel included, valued and safe.
I regret my reaction at the MU homecoming parade when the ConcernedStudent1950 group approached my car. I am sorry, and my apology is long overdue. My behavior seemed like I did not care. That was not my intention. I was caught off guard in that moment. Nonetheless, had I gotten out of the car to acknowledge the students and talk with them perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are today. I am asking us to move forward in addressing the racism that exists at our university – and it does exist. Together we must rise to the challenge of combatting racism, injustice, and intolerance.
According to the school's website, The University of Missouri-Columbia has a population of 35,000 students, 17% of whom are minorities.
To add to the refreshing nature of the protest, the school's athletics department said it stood by the students.
STATEMENT (1): The department of athletics is aware of the declarations made tonight by many of our student-athletes.— Mizzou Athletics (@MizzouAthletics) November 8, 2015
(2): We must come together with leaders from across our campus to tackle these challenging issues and we support our athletes right to do so— Mizzou Athletics (@MizzouAthletics) November 8, 2015
And today Head Football Coach Pinkel demonstrated his support for the players:
The school's next game is November 14th against BYU. It will be interesting to see not only what happens on campus and with the team, but if other schools and their players will side with the athletes in this protest.