Published: November 20, 2015
By now, I’m pretty sure that nearly everyone has heard about the situation at the University of Missouri. At the very least, they have heard about the protests.
Being as interested as I was, I read and watched the coverage of the events as they unfolded, captivated by the events.
Even though I took in as much information as I could about the event, I still found my perspective to be lacking substance. I was not on the campus. I was not there to feel the way those students felt, to see the things they did. I felt like to properly form an opinion about the protests on that campus, I needed to talk to someone who was there. Someone who had seen this first hand, not through Twitter or a report on CNN.
So I did.
I spoke with Sydney Bornstein, a junior journalism/strategic communication major, who attends Mizzou.
First, we spoke about the environment on campus leading up to Wolfe’s resignation.
Bornstein felt a sense of heightened hostility from students all over campus.
“Even before the president’s resignation, there was a lot of hostility. There were a bunch of frustrated students,” Bornstein said.
Bornstein said, while she personally feels safe on campus, she understands why many would disagree with her. To illustrate that point, Bornstein recalled threats aimed at Mizzou students that appeared on social media after the protests began.
“Someone posted on the school’s Yik-Yak that they were going to ‘come on campus and shoot every black person I see,’” Bornstein said.
Bornstein said the police treated the incident very seriously and immediately began an investigation. A suspect was arrested.
Bornstein said the threat was taken seriously by students and administrators as well, noting that some professors on campus cancelled classes.
“Things were already heated, and that threw it over the top,” Bornstein said.
Bornstein noted the current climate on campus during the ongoing protests.
“Everyone is waiting to see what will happen. We’re not out of the woods yet,” Bornstein said.
Bornstein fears the potential of a return to the status quo, despite the protesters and changes around campus.
“I’m afraid that students will revert back to the way things were before,” Bornstein said. “If the demands aren’t met, how will that impact things?”
Bornstein summed up our conversation with her perspective on how long she feels the campus will take to settle down.
“I don’t think there is an end in sight,” Bornstein said.
With Bornstein’s insight in mind, I agree with her on most things she brought up.
I absolutely support and recognize the legitimacy of the protesters and what they are fighting for. I believe, through both the news coverage and my conversation with Bornstein, that there is genuine racial tension that needs to be addressed on that campus.
I believe the dismissal of President Wolfe was absolutely needed if he failed to respond properly to issues on that campus. I agree with students standing up and protesting when they have been wronged or feel unsafe due to racial issues.
However, as important as I believe these steps are, the real barometer of this is yet to come.
I believe that, unlike how the media is treating the protests, this is only the beginning of something much bigger for that campus.
The real test to see how all of this shakes out will be the way The University and, even more importantly, the student body will react to this.
Bornstein seems to think the issue is still very much alive on that campus and will be for some time. I do as well.
In reality, this thing has just started to boil over. I think that this is just a peek into the can of worms that has been opened.
Contact the writer: email@example.com