This past week Mizzou has gotten a substantial amount of media attention, not just locally but on the national level as well. As a student who attends the University of Missouri, it has been an emotionally exhausting week on campus. Here is an overview of the things I have experienced:
On Sunday, November 8th, 2015, MU graduate student Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike had gained the media’s attention. Butler’s hunger strike was started due to the lack of attentiveness from the UM system president in regards racial issues and racism on campus. Also, The University of Missouri football team, along with head coach Gary Pinkel, went on strike to not play or practice until UM president, Tim Wolfe resigned his position. This was a big controversy due to the fact that Mizzou had a football game to play at the end of the week on Saturday, November 14th, 2015. A cancellation of the game would have cost the University $1 million.
On Monday, November 9th, 2015, The UM system president, Tim Wolfe officially resigned. Following Wolfe’s resignation, the chancellor of The University of Missouri-Columbia, R. Bowen Loftin also submitted his resignation that will take into effect at the end of this year, 2015. A video of MU School of Communications, Media Professor Melissa Click went viral as she engaged in a verbal confrontation with a senior journalism student at Mizzou. Not only was involved in the video, but Janna Basler, MU director of Greek Life was involved as well. Since this incident, Basler has been placed on administrative leave and Click has lost her courtesy appointment with the School of Journalism. There still has been no word if Click will lose her position or be reprimanded from the School of Communications at MU.
On Tuesday, November 10th, 2015, The University of Missouri-Columbia appointed a new interim chancellor, Dr. Henry “Hank” C. Foley. On Tuesday evening, many hate, racial, terrorist, and suicide threats fled into the feed of the anonymous social media site, Yik Yak. Law enforcement took immediate action and later arrested the young man, Hunter Park of Rolla, Mo. Park was a student at University of Missouri Science & Technology in Rolla, Missouri. Park was the suspect of the hateful crime and speech that was posted on Yik Yak.
On Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 many classes were cancelled or either labeled optional as a result of the threats. Campus was eerie and unsettling. Not many students were on campus and stores downtown were closed. Starbucks, on Ninth street in the downtown district closed because the employees were too scared to go to work.
On Thursday, November 12th, 2015, The UM system appointed a new president, Mike Middleton.
On Friday, November 13th, 2015, head football coach, Gary Pinkel announced his resignation of his position due to his health. Pinkel had been diagnosed with lymphoma in May and will not be returning after the end of this 2015 football season.
Needless to say, it has been a very emotional week to be a tiger. Not only has there been a plethora of media presence on campus, but there has been a lot of tension between students, as well as staff and faculty.
As a journalism student through this time at the number one journalism school in the nation, it has been a time to watch, learn, and apply my skills in anyway possible. I have been able to share information and inform the public through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Steller. My Facebook post which was informative of the un safe situations on campus has received over 3,100 shares and my Steller piece has received over 1,800 views. It is intriguing and interesting to know that my experience, craft, and art as a student journalist is seen all over the world. News travels fast. Word travels fast. Social media travels fast. MULTIMEDIA TRAVELS FAST.
Please pray for the continued safety of all students, faculty, law enforcement, journalists, community members and all associated in the events occurring on The University of Missouri-Columbia’s campus.