COLUMBIA, Mo. – Some University of Missouri students told the system's governing board Friday that they want to play a part in deciding who will be the next chancellor at the flagship campus in Columbia and the next president of the university system, and said the school needs more faculty of color.
The Board of Curators meeting was the first open for student input since protests over the administration's handling of racial issues and the subsequent resignations of Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and system President Tim Wolfe. The upheaval shook the campus and brought the university into the national spotlight.
Shelbey Parnell, one of the organizers of the Concerned Student 1950 group that camped out for days on campus in protest of Wolfe, said students, faculty and staff should have a role in choosing Wolfe and Loftin's successors. Parnell said members of the system's other campuses also need a voice in picking leaders.
She added that "implementation is worth more than advertisement ploys."
The board announced the meeting Thursday and asked for student input, saying board members wanted to hear about their experiences. Several students criticized the meeting's timing, saying it was overdue and scheduled too close to Thanksgiving break, which begins Saturday.
"You should have had this meeting a long time ago," said Timothy Love, a graduate fellow in the English department. He added that he's interested in discussions "that end in effective results."
Chairman Donald Cupps said Friday was the first day board members could meet and that he had not realized the timing of the university break. He said the board has received requests the past few weeks from students wanting to address its members, and the meeting was the result of that.
Other suggestions from students centered on the need for more students of color and the treatment of graduate students. Requests from members of some graduate student organizations included higher stipends, affordable housing, paternity and maternity leave, and adequate health care.