Students Discuss Meaning of “One Mizzou”

Petterson_OneMizzou

Petterson_OneMizzou

Lauren Petterson – MUTV 23 News Staff Writer

 

In the Women’s Center on Friday Oct. 10, 2014, students discussed the meaning of the term “One Mizzou” and how the slogan should be used to promote acceptance of others in regards to diversity of all kinds on the MU campus.

 

Students from several different organizations on campus spoke about the past, present and future of the phrase “One Mizzou” in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and other components that make students unique. The intersectionality of these characteristics was one of the focal points of the discussion.

 

At this panel, representatives described the movement as an initiative to create a more purposefully inclusive campus.

 

However, several students expressed that they had endured experiences that prove that the term “One Mizzou” is not always inclusive to all students from different backgrounds. They said that they did not always feel like their school cared about them and the diversity that they bring to the demographic of the University of Missouri.

 

“I’m fed up and upset that I don’t know how to make people care about other peoples rights and other peoples lives.” said MU student Joel Dalton.

 

“I can’t handle my students telling me that they can’t go to class because their professors don’t care about them being gay, and the hurtful comments that other students say to them every day.” said Danielle Walker, a graduate student for the Multicultural Center.

Walker went on to explain that although some administrators seem to not care about students and their diversity, not all administrators have this attitude.

Students expressed feelings of not belonging to the university because of hatefulness perpetrated by other students. From negative comments about sexuality, to students not being able to change their preferred name on MyZou, it was apparent that many students struggled with the university’s lack of appropriate reaction to differences between students.

Students also discussed the university’s reaction to sexual assault. MSA’s “Enough is Enough” campaign was referenced to in regards to removing students and organizations from campus that have a history of sexual assaults. According to the students at the panel, several groups on campus have been allowed to stay on campus, despite their record of sexual assault.

 

“How are we as students allowing that?” said Joel Dalton.

 

To many of the people who attended the panel discussion, it was the students and faculty who were not in attendance who needed to hear how students affected by diversity based discrimination believe “One Mizzou” needs to be changed.

 

“One Mizzou is a diversity initiative, but the people who need to know about diversity are not diverse people.” said MU student Ashley Bland

 

The discussion sparked several ideas of what should be done in the future to increase the inclusiveness of the “One Mizzou” movement on campus. Education was brought up as one of the many ways that a new and improved impact can be made on campus.

 

Student leaders agreed that it is difficult to educate and instill change in the mindset of the student body. They acknowledged that the road to creating a more accepting environment at MU would be difficult, but possible.

 

“If people aren’t responding to you, you go and you stomp your foot and you stand in front of them and say ‘look, I want to help.’” said Ashley Bland

 

The coordinator of the Multicultural Center, Stephanie Hernandez Rivera stated her belief that students should not be afraid to make a change simply by speaking to others about the change they want to make.

 

“Engaging people in critical dialogue is the first step.” said Hernandez

 

After the panel part of the discussion ended, students from many organizations began conversations about what they can do to help create a more inclusive version of the “One Mizzou” initiative together.

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