When cotton balls were found outside the University of Missouri’s black culture center in 2010 in a clear reference to slavery, two white students were arrested and expelled, with no larger discussion of race on a campus where blacks couldn’t enroll until 1950. After racially charged incidents at the campus this year, students emboldened by last year’s protests in Ferguson took action, which led to the announcement that the university system’s president and the campus chancellor would resign, with the promise of even more changes, the Associated Press reports. Reuben Faloughi, a third-year doctoral student in psychology who participated in the campus protests, said student activism is a nod to Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb two hours from the university where Michael Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old, was killed by a police officer.
After the shooting, Faloughi took part in a “die-in” protest at the university, joining others in feigning death in Brown’s memory. Black student groups have complained for months that university president Tim Wolfe was unresponsive to racial slurs and other slights. The complaints came to a head Saturday, when at least 30 black football players announced they would not play until the president left. In announcing his resignation yesterday, Wolfe, a former business executive with no previous experience in academic leadership, took “full responsibility for the frustration” students expressed and said their complaints were “clear” and “real.”