*** The following document has nearly 800 names of black alumni fixed to it. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And I stand in solidarity with my fellow alumni. Things must change.***
Statement of Support from Black Mizzou Alumni
We, the undersigned Black alumni of the University of Missouri (“Mizzou”) are deeply concerned about the current environment at our beloved alma mater. It is imperative for the public and the current students matriculating at the university to know that as Black alumni, we stand together in support of the Concerned Student 1950, The Legion of Black Collegians, Missouri Student Association President Payton Head, Graduate Student Activist Jonathan Butler, the University of Missouri Football team and all other student activists.
We recognize that the University of Missouri has a unique history which is tied to the fabric of the state itself. In 1938, the University of Missouri School of Law denied entry to Lloyd Gaines because of his race. Mr. Gaines, sued and the Supreme Court ultimately decided that University of Missouri had to admit Mr. Gaines. The Gaines case laid the groundwork for Brown v. Board of Education. In 1950, the University of Missouri admitted its first Black student, however it was not until 1957 that the first Black students were even allowed on the football team. While we acknowledge that we have made significant strides since this time, we recognize that our alma mater can be greater.
While students at the University of Missouri, many of us found ourselves protesting similar incidents on campus and we find it highly unacceptable that many of these issues are not only continuing, but have become more pervasive. In 2004, a Mizzou student wrote a post in a campus newspaper, blaming Black students for vandalism in Greektown and admonishing them to “stay in their little worlds…” During the 2007 school year, Neo-Nazis protested in downtown Columbia, to which Black students responded with a counter protest. In 2008, Black students banded together against the failed Missouri Civil Rights Initiative which sought to remove affirmative action policies at the University of Missouri. In 2010, two Mizzou students defaced the Black Culture Center by throwing cotton balls on the lawn. For Black students, the Black Culture Center is a refuge of safety, making the act even more egregious. In 2011, another Mizzou student spray painted “NIGGER” onto a Residential Hall statue, once again leaving Black students to feel ostracized and unwelcome in their shared living space. We highlight these past events to show our own connection to the plight of current students.
Unfortunately, despite efforts by many Black alumni, the Mizzou Alumni Association (“MAA”) has not yet given us the opportunity to formally organize. We recognize the importance of remaining connected to the undergraduate students and see an official Black Alumni chapter as a means to do so. Additionally, it is a means to galvanize our talented Black Alumni base. Without the presence of an official Black Alumni chapter, we are unable to connect properly to fellow alums and show our support of the Black student body.
As alumni, we are fully invested in improving the campus climate for current and future Tigers. We want to show our continued support to the students and the University as a whole. As such, we offer our support and assistance to the Black student body and the University to ensure that the student concerns are fully addressed.
Concerned Black Mizzou Alumni