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Thomas Jefferson statue protesters announce list of demands at MU

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A protester confronts Bill Stackman inside of Jesse Hall on Friday

A protester confronts Bill Stackman on Friday inside Jesse Hall on the MU campus. Stackman, a vice chancellor at MU, talked to the crowd briefly.

Friday afternoon wasn’t a quiet one at Jesse Hall at MU. Roughly 40 student-activists and protesters made their voices heard on issues of racial justice and the university’s role in it.

For two mostly uninterrupted hours and across three of the building’s four floors, organizers for the group Mizzou 600 made speeches and led the group in chants of “Whose campus? Our campus,” and “Hey hey, ho ho, this racist statue has got to go,” among others.

A student protester leads out a list of demands on Friday

A student protester leads out a list of demands on Friday on the MU campus. The protest was led by Mizzou 600, which plans 600 hours of disruption on campus in reference to the 600 enslaved people Thomas Jefferson owned.

The group, which derives its name from the more than 600 enslaved people Thomas Jefferson owned, began its protest next to the Jefferson statue on Francis Quadrangle. Organizers demanded:

  • Removal of the statue and nearby tombstone.
  • Creation of a scholarship fund for Black students involved in social justice work.
  • Creation of a “scholars’ board to ensure that Black students continue to have a credible voice at this institution.”
  • Participation by UM System President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi in diversity mentoring for a full semester.
Students march up to the second floor of Jesse Hall

Students march up to the second floor of Jesse Hall on Friday in Columbia. The protestors lead chants on all three floors of the admissions building during the protest.

From the statue, the protest moved to Jesse Hall, where MU Vice Chancellor Bill Stackman confronted one of the organizers, saying the protest was a violation and disruption of the administrative work being done in Jesse Hall.

According to MU’s use of facilities policy, disruptive protests in administrative buildings are prohibited.

Stackman, who later declined to be interviewed, told the group it would be reported to the Office of Student Accountability.

After a brief back-and-forth with an organizer, the two reached an impasse and Stackman left the building.

Organizers for Mizzou 600 declined to be interviewed and instructed protesters not to speak to journalists.

The group said it plans to hold more protests with the goal of “600 hours of disruption.”

A police officer asks students for their names on Friday

A police officer asks students for their names on Friday in Columbia, Mo. The names were gathered and given to the Office of Accountability.

The Jefferson statue has been at the center of controversy at MU for several years. Students first called for its removal in 2015.

That effort has been revived since the death of George Floyd in May and MU’s June 12 statement that it would not remove the statue.

An acrylic case was placed over the tombstone last month at a cost of $20,000 to the university.

  • State Government reporter, fall 2020. I am a first-year graduate student studying public policy journalism. You can reach me at mokwb@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • I'm the public safety and health editor at the Missourian and a professor in the School of Journalism. I'm experienced in directing investigative projects. Call me at (573) 882-1792 with story tips, ideas or complaints.

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