Demonstrators Sit-In for Equality

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Cortlynn Stark, The Black Bear – On Nov. 12, a group of about 120 Missouri State students marched silently into the Plaster Student Union, and sat in front of Subway, taking a stand in solidarity with MIzzou.

“The fight that’s going on at Mizzou right now,” demonstration organizer and senior, Riana Clark, explained, “it’s not completely different from the fight that we have had at Missouri state.”

Demonstrators dressed in all-black and held signs that read “#ConcernedStudent1950,” or “#WeStandWithMizzou,” to show their support.

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Although the protest was silent, key members occasionally stood up and encouraged the demonstrators to keep going.

Freshman demonstrator, Honesty Gant, stood up and began reading and responding to posts on Yik Yak, a popular social media app that allows users to post anonymously.

She addressed the questions of those who were not aware of what was happening and shot down those who thought the demonstration was pointless.

“Our campus is not just a bubble for racism,” Gant said later. “It happens everywhere, it happens in our face, it happens in disguise and it makes us uncomfortable.”

Yik Yak was flooded with positive and negative commentary during the two-hour long demonstration. People frequently posted questions wondering why people were on the floor in the PSU.

“People have to be educated to understand how to change or improve their mentality towards other cultures and understand,” student Donovan Garcia said. “There is no reason why we should be divided.”

President Clif Smart made a brief appearance in the PSU, shaking hands with some of the demonstrators.

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While Smart was in full support of the demonstration, other students thought it was problematic, even pointless.

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Freshman, Alex Paul, also felt the demonstration did more harm than good.

“It seems like it’s just making things worse,” Paul said.

But for those participating, they wanted to see change for the better.

“Missouri State is my school and I would like it to be my home,” Clark said. “So to make the school a home for everyone, there are some changes that it needs to make. Ultimately, that is my goal from this. That we can enter a discussion with administration, give them a list of demands and change the way Missouri state operates.”

MSU prides itself on its three pillars of public affairs: ethical leadership, community engagement and culturally competence.

“We can’t necessarily have culturally competent students if we’ve got a course work that doesn’t support that,” Clark said. “If we’ve got a staff and numbers that don’t support that.”

Vice President of Student Affairs, Dee Siscoe, and Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Ken Coopwood, were also present during the duration of the demonstration.

“We’re all out in support of our students,” Siscoe said. “And their desire to demonstrate their support for students at Mizzou and also for the right to have an equal and inclusive environment here at Missouri state.”

Students who did not participate in the demonstration supported it as well.

“I’m glad I go to Missouri state,” student, Brandon Huddleston, said. “Where I can be proud that people aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe.”

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