Lawmakers call for Missouri-Kansas City chancellor's resignation

9 months 1 day 1 hour ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 5:26:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in Continuous News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Some Republican Missouri lawmakers are calling for the resignation of University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal over what they say was his inadequate response to the disruption of a conservative speaker’s appearance last week.

Lawmakers also threatened to reduce the university’s budget to “make a statement” about what they consider an increase in liberal intolerance on college campuses, The Kansas City Star reported.

University students on Thursday interrupted an anti-transgender speech by conservative Michael Knowles, a contributor to the Daily Wire website. As other students booed and began to walk out, one student rushed the stage and used a water gun to shoot a mix of lavender oil and other nontoxic substances toward Knowles, who wasn’t injured.

The student, Gerard Dabu, was tackled by campus police and later charged with disturbing the peace, assault on law enforcement, property damage and resisting arrest. He was also suspended and banned from campus during the investigation.

Agrawal issued a statement the next day saying the students’ treatment of Knowles “crossed a line.” He said the school was committed to free speech and maintaining a safe environment for all points of view, “even extreme ones.”

The chancellor also called Knowles “a speaker whose professed opinions do not align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our goal of providing a welcoming environment to all people, particularly to our LGBT community.” Knowles denounced the chancellor’s statement during an appearance later on Fox News.

Agrawal issued a second statement as lawmakers discussed the issue Monday night.

“My original statement may have given an indication that UMKC does not support freedom of expression for all. I apologize if I’ve given that impression, for that was not my intention,” Agrawal wrote. “It is not the university’s role to take sides, but to rise to the higher principle of promoting a respectful exchange of ideas for our students to form their own views and engage in critical thinking.”

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi told House lawmakers during a Wednesday hearing on the incident that he still has faith in Agrawal and is confident that he’s committed to free speech.

Choi later told reporters that he doesn’t feel pressured to fire the chancellor, although Republican Rep. Robert Ross during the hearing had asked him “at what point would a staff member not be worth that trade off in a reduced amount of your budget?”

“Am I willing to sacrifice a person for the sake of getting more money from the state?” Choi said. “The answer is, in my case I’m going to be fair to the individual.”

On Monday night, Sen. David Sater, a Cassville Republican and a member of the Appropriations Committee, was among those calling for Agrawal’s resignation during a discussion on the floor of the Missouri Senate. Sen. Gary Romine, a Farmington Republican, said the Senate needed to make a statement, adding: “Intolerance has taken on a different swing of the pendulum at this time.”

Democratic Sen. Jason Holsman, who district includes the university, urged lawmakers to give Agrawal time to clarify.

"The rest of the students do not deserve to be in the cross-hairs of an appropriations battle over words you find distasteful from the chancellor,” Holsman said.

St. Louis Democratic Rep. Peter Merideth told Agrawal during the House hearing that he’s “much more concerned with our reaction to your reaction.”

“That I find much more troubling than anything you said,” Merideth said.

Police said the liquid shot at Knowles was a mixture of lavender oil and nontoxic household liquids. The color and scent of lavender have been adopted by the LGBTQ community as a symbol for transgender solidarity.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Boone Hospital Center will hold a job fair specifically for former employees of Pinnacle Hospital on Tuesday. The... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 3:12:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
FULTON - Police took one suspect into custody after responding Friday afternoon to a burglary in progress call near W... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 3:05:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The last flight to land at Columbia Regional Airport Friday touched down at 10:00 a.m. Those departing the... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:52:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Sleet and freezing rain hit across mid-Missouri throughout the day Friday. Jefferson City Public Works director... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:52:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
MID-MISSOURI - Another week in January, and another winter storm. This time around it will likely all happen in one... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:36:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia is reporting more than 1,000 people are without power in east central Columbia, in... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:26:12 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
FULTON - Officers took two suspects into custody after investigating a report of a stolen package in the residential area... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
MONTGOMERY COUNTY - Two people have been arrested and charged in connection with the 2017 death of Benjamin Renick. ... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 12:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - With colder temperatures expected to arrive in mid-Missouri, shelters are preparing to care for those in need. ... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 6:27:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One Missouri lawmaker's bill could create new curriculum for schools in the state. House Bill 2153, sponsored... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 5:21:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he plans to fight efforts to expand the number... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 4:06:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
NEW FRANKLIN — In a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon, New Franklin police chief Mike Wise announced plans to step down.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 2:14:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The announcement of Pinnacle Regional Hospital's closing came suddenly this week, even catching residents off guard who expected... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 1:57:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House violated federal law in withholding security assistance to Ukraine, an action at the... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:35:15 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON DC - The United States Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, 89-10, on Wednesday morning, and Senators Josh Hawley... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 11:32:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia is preparing for a possible winter storm forecast for Friday, Jan. 17, per a... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 11:02:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- State senators heard testimony on a bill Thursday morning that could give law enforcement a leg up in... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:52:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
MILTON, FL - Katie Prestesater, a native of Columbia, was recognized as the Naval Air Station Whiting Field Senior Civilian... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:09:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 31°
5pm 33°
6pm 33°
7pm 33°
8pm 34°