University of Missouri promises changes amid racial tension

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2015 8:31 PM

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri system plans to begin several initiatives in the next 90 days that is says are aimed at improving the racial atmosphere on its four campuses and cultivating diversity and inclusion at the schools.

The moves follow racially charged incidents that led to numerous protests at the system's flagship campus in Columbia, including a hunger strike by a graduate student and at least 30 black football players announcing a strike. University of Missouri system President Tim Wolfe resigned Monday, and Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said he will step down at the end of the year to take another job at the school.

The university system's governing body, the Board of Curators, announced a series of steps it plans to take. They include:

— The system's first chief diversity, inclusion and equity officer. Each campus also will have a chief diversity, inclusion and equity officer.

— A full review of all policies related to staff and student conduct.

— More support for those on campus who have experienced discrimination.

— More support for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff.

— The creation of a diversity, inclusion and equity task force for the system to audit current programs and practices. Similar task forces will also be established on each campus.

Specific plans for the Columbia campus include:

— Mandatory diversity, inclusion and equity training for all faculty, staff and future incoming students.

— A comprehensive review of student mental health services to ensure students are referred to the most appropriate resources for their needs.