Black students at the University of Missouri are beginning the new school year once again battling the campus racism they gained national attention for protesting last year.
On Tuesday evening, two black students walking on the Mizzou campus say they were accosted by a group of white students who used racial slurs to refer to them, according to a statement by the Legion of Black Collegians, the Mizzou black student government. The encounter continued outside the Delta Upsilon fraternity house, where members allegedly began shouting racist and disparaging slurs at the black students, according to the statement. Eventually, police arrived to break up the skirmish.
“It is often said that history repeats itself, but the ignorance that occurs on the University of Missouri’s campus always seems to be too familiar,” the LBC wrote. “Due to the continuation of an intolerant culture, students of color have been attacked yet again.”
LBC added: “Quite frankly, WE. ARE. SICK. OF. THIS!”
Last fall, students organized protests after Missouri Student Association president Payton Head was called a racial slur by white students while walking on campus. Unsatisfied by the administration’s response (or lack thereof), students rallied around #ConcernedStudent1950, honoring the year black students were admitted to the university and how black students continue to fight for equality on campus.
Graduate student Jonathan Butler began a hunger strike that, along with other student organizing efforts, led to the resignation of University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe and chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
The efforts at Mizzou, coupled with the momentum of the movement for black lives, catalyzed a new wave of campus protests across the country. Students representing at least 72 colleges and universities issued a list of demands on their respective campuses to address the everyday reality of campus racism, including ensuring increased representation of black students and faculty, renaming buildings, and providing scholarship resources.
Their work has paid off. Earlier this month, Georgetown University took an unprecedented step toward dealing with its racist past by offering preferential admissions to those who are descendants of slaves sold to finance the school in the early 19th century.
At the very least, some action is being taken at Mizzou. The Mizzou chapter of Delta Upsilon has been suspended. Interim chancellor Hank Foley was quick to condemn the latest incident at Mizzou, noting in an official statement that he was “outraged and saddened to hear of this.”
But as black students continue to be subjected to racist verbal attacks, students are reminded that last year’s events were only the beginning of a continued battle to dismantle racism on campus.