COLUMBIA - The UM Board of Curators Chair Darryl M. Chatman and UM President Mun Choi held a press conference at the conclusion of their public session on Thursday to address tuition spikes across all four universities and restructuring to MU’s Department of Social Justice centers.
"We want to be a more inclusive university that also ensures that students regardless of their background, experience or perspective, can graduate and benefit from the education that the university," President Choi said. "That's a promise."
After coordinators at MU’s Department of Social Justice centers were told their positions would no longer exist as of July 1 last week, many students showed their disapproval with a protest on MU's campus Monday.
One student, Breyony Allen, said she depends on more than one of the offered social justice offices.
"Being Black and queer at Mizzou, these are places where I can come and talk about my experience with people who understand," she said. "I was trying to reach out to the Mizzou Counseling Center, but they weren't always the best resource for me, especially because they couldn't understand where I was coming from or my experience."
Allen said she spends time with both the Multicultural Center and the LGBTQ Resource Center. As a first year student, they have played a large role in making her feel comfortable on campus. Allen said that the layoffs of the faculty that she has built a connection with is frustrating.
"The people here don't genuinely care about the places that they represent, or the people that they're serving," she said. "For the LGBTQ+ center, if that is being run by people that identify as straight or like cisgender people, it's disrespectful. You can't possibly understand what that community is going through or even what they have experienced at Mizzou."
Mizzou 600, a Black student organization, announced via Twitter that MU students are planning another protest, using the hashtag #justice4MUsocialjustice, on April 28 at 2 p.m.
President Choi suggested that students who are upset with the changes should reach out to Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, Maurice Gipson.
"I would like to ask the students who were demonstrating outside on Monday, as well as students that are planning for demonstrations to first come and meet with, with Vice Chancellor Gipson," President Choi said. "We hired him because of his experience in improving student success, especially those for those students who are underrepresented or those students that rely on the social justice center."