MU addresses free speech, "safe space" in response to protests

11 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago January 20, 2016 Jan 20, 2016 Wednesday, January 20 2016 Wednesday, January 20, 2016 1:10:53 PM CST in News
By: Luisangel Rodriguez, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - In a message to faculty, students and staff, MU’s Interim Chancellor Hank Foley addressed several major projects and initiatives, some of which focus on concerns raised during recent protests on MU’s campus.

One of the initiatives aims to address the conflict between free expression, safety, and the use of public places. A joint committee led by Faculty Council Chair and Associate Professor of Law Ben Trachtenberg will examine the issues. Faculty, staff and student representatives will also be a part of the committee.

It will discuss the Concerned Student 1950 protests and a video that went viral, showing Associate Professor Melissa Click confronting a student photographer. It will also discuss the use of public spaces, freedom of expression, and the safety of students.

Foley's letter also mentions MU’s effort to provide diversity education to new and incoming students.  Foley said the university is in the process of developing a diversity requirement for all students and has introduced mandatory diversity education for administrators to help them “better understand our own implicit biases.”

The Chancellor’s message included details on how MU is looking to celebrate Black History Month with numerous events, including the inaugural African-American Experience in Missouri lecture series.

Foley said he will host “Chat with the Chancellor” every Friday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., in an attempt to make communication between students and the university easier.

Foley plans to address these issues and more in his State of the University address which will take place Jan. 27 at Memorial Union.

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