Just days after protesters successfully toppled the University of Missouri’s president and chancellor last fall, a white student forwarded her professor a disturbing tweet. “#Mizzou black students need to stop protesting and start killing,” it said. “The white supremacy made it clear they aint hearing it.”
The ominous tweet had already received 16 retweets and 3 likes. The professor forwarded the message onto interim administration and the university’s police, adding that he was unsure whether the person who had sent the tweet was a student. But, he wrote, his student was scared to come to class.
To understand what was going on behind the scenes as the University of Missouri was rocked by protests during October and November of 2015, Heat Street and National Review requested access to email correspondence from key leaders at the school. The request yielded 7,400 pages of records.
News coverage at the time focused on black students’ claims of pervasive racism, pointing to several troublesome incidents as evidence of a bigoted culture on campus. But a look at the email correspondence of the university’s administrators and faculty members during the crisis reveals another side of the unrest: how protesters’ belligerence left many students, faculty and parents fearful of violence and concerned for their safety.