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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

MSU’s Smart Applauds Dialogue on Racism, Calls for Respectful Exchanges

Missouri State University
MSU President Clif Smart/Credit MSU

Missouri State University President Clif Smart used his website on Friday to express support for the students who have started a campus-wide discussion about racism.

Smart called the dialogue healthy, and expects it to continue, ultimately bringing positive change to the school.

What began as a silent protest during the university’s homecoming festivities in October resulted in some negative reaction, which reportedly included racial slurs toward the group.

Two weeks later, hundreds gathered inside the Carrington Hall auditorium to speak up about the incident, and identify a way forward.

Smart, who was in attendance at that meeting, acknowledged on Friday the challenges that can come with conversations on race. He noted that the opportunity for misunderstandings and hurt feelings exists on all sides.

“Moreover, addressing these issues as an institution is neither a fast nor easy process; however, we are focused on moving forward as a university that embraces and promotes diversity and creating an environment where all members of the campus community feel equally included and valued,” Smart said.

He advised that there may be more protests in the coming days and weeks in a variety of formats, and that many will be unhappy with the results of a St. Louis grand jury’s report of the Michael Brown shooting, “no matter what they are.”

Smart offered the reminder that all members of the Missouri State University community have the rights of assembly, free speech and expression throughout campus.

“While we as individuals may not always agree with the ideas expressed, as a community built on civility and respect, we must all support and protect these rights. By committing to do this, our campus climate will continue to improve.”

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