Mizzou Announces Diversity Initiatives After Student Race Protests

The measures aim to "ensure that our campuses are free of acts of hatred" and "embody a culture of respect.”

The University of Missouri system on Monday said it would hire a diversity officer, expand training and bolster mental health services after student protests of campus racism forced the ouster of two top university leaders. 

“The board of curators will not tolerate hateful activities on our campuses -- period,” Donald Cupps, chair of the university Board of Curators, said in a statement. “We are taking additional measures beginning today to ensure that our campuses are free of acts of hatred, so that our campuses all embody a culture of respect.”

The initiatives, including many demanded by the student protest group Concerned Students 1950, aim to bolster student mental health services, retain minority students, and diversity training for students, faculty and staff. They will be implemented over the next 90 days. (Click here to read the initiatives.) 

Among the most significant is the appointment of the school system's first chief diversity, inclusion and equity officer. The curators also pledged to evaluate student and staff codes of conduct, boost support for faculty and staff who have been victimized by discriminatory treatment and create task forces to develop short-term and long-term strategies around diversity, inclusion and equity.

A series of race-related events in the past several months escalated what many black students characterized as an already hostile environment.

Unhappy with President Tim Wolfe's failure to take sufficient action, students, faculty and state lawmakers called for his resignation.

Tensions hit a tipping point when more than 30 black players on the school's football team announced over the weekend they would not practice or participate in any team activities until Wolfe resigned.

Wolfe stepped down Monday morning, followed several hours later by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, who will shift to a new role in 2016. 

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