MU Groups work together on One Mizzou program

Friday, March 11, 2011 | 12:54 p.m. CST; updated 8:33 p.m. CST, Saturday, March 12, 2011

COLUMBIA – A diverse group of MU students and administrators are affiliated with the One Mizzou initiative, yet they share the common goal of promoting respect.

The hate crime at Hatch Hall on Feb. 12 spawned the idea for One Mizzou, although the program is more than a reaction to racial slurs. It is a student-led initiative dedicated to respecting and celebrating all types of diversity on campus, said Eric Woods, president of the Missouri Student Association.

Woods said the program responds to a growing demand from students to have a way to discuss diversity with each other. It launches in April, Woods said, and he hopes it will have a sound foundation by the end of the semester.

"The students didn't want statements or articles," he said. "They wanted the opportunity to talk to each other about these issues."

The students and administrators plan to make the program a lasting Mizzou tradition through such initiatives as pledge banners, online diversity training and a summer welcome program, Woods said.

He listed organizations that have signed on: the Missouri Student Association, the Graduate Professional Council, the Asian American Association, the Legion of Black Collegians and many others. They want One Mizzou to show people that the student body isn’t intolerant of differences, he said.

“There’s a need to demonstrate how serious a commitment we have to accepting one another and embracing diversity,” Woods said.

Residential Life Director Frankie Minor said he is excited that One Mizzou is led by students. He said the administration is playing a supportive role so students can speak with the loudest voices as the largest group in the MU community.

Kristofferson Culmer, president of the Graduate Professional Council, said the program provides a great service to the community. Culmer said diversity is important to him as an international student and a racial minority, but it is much more than race and culture.

Diversity can include intellect, talent and much more, and it should be important to everyone, he said.

“I believe that men and women are created equal,” he said. “But we’re also created different. Differences aren’t a crutch. They strengthen us.”

Different people working together present a variety of ideas and perspectives, said Residence Hall Association President Lauren Thomas.

This will result in a program everyone will be proud of, Thomas said.

"If it were just a few groups trying to accomplish One Mizzou’s goals, I don’t think the product would end up as good,” she said.

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Ellis Smith March 11, 2011 | 1:43 p.m.

Marvelous! Perhaps after the passage of another two centuries we can even have a "One University of Missouri System" initiative. We don't want to rush these things, you know.

In addition to addressing the interests of individuals and ethnic and racial groups "One University of Missouri System" would also address the equality of all university campuses, a shocking and apparently unobtainable goal.

Meanwhile, nobody at UMKC, UMSL or MS&T (the three campuses now having the majority of the System's students) is holding their breath.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 11, 2011 | 2:07 p.m.

Maybe in a couple more centuries we can have a "One University of Missouri System" initiative. We certainly don't want to rush things.

The "One University of Missouri System" initiative would address the needs of individuals and racial and ethnic groups and would also tackle the problem of campus equality, which is not a problem of inequality on one specific campus but inequality between campuses.

The other three campuses - whose combined enrollments now represent the majority of the System's students - and the alumni from those campuses would like to see that happen.

(Report Comment)

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