New Interim UM System President has history of social change

1 year 6 months 1 week ago November 12, 2015 Nov 12, 2015 Thursday, November 12 2015 Thursday, November 12, 2015 4:40:00 PM CST in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director Samantha Myers, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Former Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton will be the interim UM System president replacing Tim Wolfe who resigned Monday in the wake of protests over racial tensions on campus.

Middleton said, "We must confront uncomfortable societal issues that, once confronted, will make us stronger."

Hurtful, hateful actions to the community "will not be tolerated," he said.

“It is imperative that we hear all of our students and do everything we can to make them comfortable and safe in our community,” he said.

Middleton said it is an indication of racial situation in the country that he was asked during the press conference whether being African American played a role in his appointment. He said he suspects his color will be met with much criticism from the community.

"I also suspect that my color was a factor in the judgment that I was the person at this time to take this position," he said. "Color in this country is an issue that is considered, that affects many, many decisions that are made, positively and negatively. We need to understand that, accept it and get beyond it eventually.

Middleton said he has met and plans to meet again with Concerned Student 1950 to "address" the protesters demands and will do everything humanly and institutionally possible to meet them.

"I guarantee you the ones we don’t meet, we will explain why they couldn’t be met, hopefully to the satisfaction of the students," he said.

He said he understands the frustrations of students, and the recent unrest is a "learning experience" the university must move forward from with a tight focus.

He said the issue of race is centuries old; an "ugly, ugly history that permeates everything we do in our institutions in this country."

The University of Missouri is "serious" about being the university system that becomes a national leader in the matter of race relations.

“Our attention has been drawn to the magnitude of the problem," he said. "I think we’re at an opportune moment to take some giant steps forward to move this issue far beyond where it has been moved in the past, and I am committed to doing that.

Middleton graduated from MU in 1968. He was the third African-American graduate student to graduate from the MU Law School. He pursued a career in civil rights law in Washington, D.C., working as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The University of Missouri School of Law's website said Middleton had an "illustrious career" in federal government before moving into education.

"After serving as Director of the Office of Systemic Programs for the EEOC and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, he was appointed Associate General Counsel of the EEOC’s trial division," the website said.

KOMU 8 News spoke to Middleton and his wife Julie in 2013 about his role in creating social change since he came to MU in 1996. 

2013 Profile on Middleton's Impact on Black History by Micah Smith

Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton started out as an undergraduate student at MU in 1966. Although Middleton appreciates MU's diversity, this what not always the case.

"Several decades after Brown v. The Board of Education, within decades of the Lloyd Gaines case that actually happened on the University of Missouri's campus, you know it was Michael Middleton who was that guy to be admitted into the University of Missouri's Law School, to actually graduate , then go on to become the law professor," said Alpha Phi Alpha President Thomas Stovall.

MU was quite different when Middleton arrived on campus in 1966. There were less than 1,000 black students enrolled as undergraduates, there were hardly any organizations blacks could join, and the only black organization on campus was Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.

"I can remember frequently getting racial epithets hurled at me out of cars passing by at night accompanied by empty beer cans and sometimes half full beer cans," said Middleton.

Middleton sought to create social change on campus, something his family had done for years while living in Mississippi.

Middleton helped form and organize the Legion of Black Collegians and became the first president of the organization. Middleton is also a founder of the Zeta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

When he decided to go to law school Middleton became the first black graduate of MU's law school. After graduating Middleton made his way to Washington D.C. and began arguing civil rights and affirmative action cases.

He remembers his very first case vividly.

"I decided that I wanted to look into suing my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi for employment discrimination of blacks and women," said Middleton. Middleton worked for the US Department of Justice during that time. His investigation created social change In Jackson Mississippi and led to the desegregation the police department, fire department, and city administration.

In 1985 Middleton returned to MU as a law professor, and remains at MU.

From sitting in Jesse Hall as a student, protesting segregation, to sitting in Jesse Hall now as Deputy Chancellor, Michael Middleton's life has come full circle. Through his actions and determination he has devoted his life to making MU and the United States a better, more accepting place.

"He has inspired so man people not only in this community but nationally and I would actually say around the world," said Middleton's Wife, Julie Middleton.

While he appreciates the compliments his friends and family give him, Middleton said he just did what he had to, to get things done.

More News

Grid
List
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — A senior Palestinian official says he expects President Donald Trump's visit to the Holy Land... More >>
46 minutes ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 7:00:01 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 6-year-old St. Louis boy's plea for an end to violence has been viewed by tens... More >>
2 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 5:42:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Jay Ashcroft will make his first visit to the Columbia Chamber of Commerce since becoming the Missouri secretary... More >>
6 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 1:00:00 AM CDT in News
FULTON - Tornado sirens in Fulton sounded around 8:30 p.m. Monday night, but there was no severe weather in... More >>
10 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 9:16:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri State Legislators introduced three new versions of the “Steel Mill Bill” after returning from their one-week... More >>
11 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 7:58:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The newest addition to the St. Louis Zoo is a critically endangered black rhino. The... More >>
12 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 7:45:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Missouri state Sen. Rob Schaaf is calling on Gov. Eric Greitens to expand the scope of... More >>
12 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 7:30:00 PM CDT in News
HALLSVILLE - Some Hallsville parents are questioning their children's safety in the school district after the suicide death of middle... More >>
13 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 6:06:00 PM CDT in Target 8
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's plan to handle massive budget cuts includes the elimination of about 383 jobs, through... More >>
15 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 3:52:00 PM CDT in News
(COLUMBIA) - Last week, we talked about inflammation and how it can contribute to weight gain. This week we’re going... More >>
16 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 3:13:00 PM CDT in News
JOPLIN (AP) - On Monday's anniversary of the Joplin tornado that cut a path of destruction through the city in... More >>
16 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 2:55:00 PM CDT in News
ST. CHARLES - The trial of the state of Missouri vs. Serghei Comerzan for the death of Missouri State Trooper,... More >>
18 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 1:34:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Police have confirmed one man has life-threatening injuries after a shooting on Dawn Ridge Road. Police received... More >>
18 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 1:21:00 PM CDT in News
MIDDLETOWN – Some farmers in Missouri are beginning to bring back a style of farming first used in the Hanging... More >>
18 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 12:51:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
CAMDENTON, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Highway Patrol has identified a man whose body was found floating in the... More >>
21 hours ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 10:45:00 AM CDT in News
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bill Cosby has arrived at the Pittsburgh courthouse where jury selection in his sexual assault case is... More >>
1 day ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 7:36:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- Attorney General Josh Hawley is waiting for his legal appeal related to abortion laws to go into effect. ... More >>
1 day ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 7:21:00 AM CDT in Continuous News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police say a man was shot while greeting people at a south Kansas City church. ... More >>
1 day ago May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017 Monday, May 22 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 6:35:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 57°
8am 58°
9am 60°
10am 61°
11am 62°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
7:30a
Cops Reloaded
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Great News
7:30p
Great News
8:00p
The Voice
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
iZombie
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld