MU prospective students weigh in on Concerned Student 1950

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COLUMBIA - News of the Concerned Student 1950 protests went around the world this week, leading national newscasts and headlining newspapers. KOMU 8 News talked to a high school student and his mother to see if the recent events on the University of Missouri campus affected the decision to potentially come to MU.

"It could happen anywhere. It's at Yale; it's everywhere. Student activism, I think, is something that's happening a lot," Susanna Perrett, parent of a prospective student, said.

Perrett and her son, Mac Lang, went on a campus tour Friday. They both agreed the MU campus was spacious and beautiful.

"You can always make a big campus small, but you can never make a small campus big. So I definitely think that's a big advantage that Missouri has," Lang said. 

Lang is a high school sophomore from a Chicago suburb who wants to go into sports journalism, which is what attracted him to MU. 

Although prospective students and their parents may have doubts about the school's future, interim UM System President Mike Middleton said this time is an opportunity for the university.

"Our attention has been drawn to the magnitude of the problem. I think we're at an opportune moment to take some giant steps forward," Middleton said. "This university needs to be a place where young, intelligent, thoughtful people can feel free to learn to interact, and to grow."

Lang and his mom signed up to take the tour weeks before the Concerned Student 1950 protests and resignations of MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and UM System President Tim Wolfe.

"We've been following everything on Twitter and Facebook, and I have a lot of friends that are in academia that had ideas about what's been happening," Perrett said.

Todd Fuller, a public relations professional and adjunct faculty member of the Missouri School of Journalism, said he thinks there becomes a problem when people don't attempt to communicate with their audiences. 

He said this leads to people drawing their own conclusions. 

"That's the last thing you want. You want people to understand what's taking place in your situation at that given time," Fuller said.

Lang told KOMU 8 News that MU staff did address the protests during the tour.

"They talked about how it kind of showed initiative by the students to - out of love for the university to - try to make a change instead of just throwing in the towel and let things be," Lang said.

And while Lang and Perrett don't think the events have affected their decision for Lang to potentially go to MU, Perrett said she wished it hadn't come to this.

"It makes me upset that that had to happen, and I would be happier if we didn't need to do that because there was already diversity and they didn't need to feel like they needed to have, you know, that kind of a call," she said. "I hate to see anti-Semitic stuff happening, or anti-Black or anti-anything."