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March 4, 2010 Volume 31, No. 22

Two arrested in incident

Expressing concern

Deaton: ‘This kind of conduct will not be tolerated at MU’

The multipurpose room of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center was filled to overflowing the evening of March 1 after MU’s Legion of Black Collegians called a town-hall meeting to discuss an incident that took place in the early morning of Feb. 26 in which a person or persons threw cotton balls at the black culture center’s entrance.

Those who took part in the town-hall meeting discussed the racial implications of the incident and pressed administrators who attended to make a course on diversity a requirement for MU’s general education program.

“I think the discussion was quite productive,” said Roger Worthington, MU’s chief diversity officer. “You expect that emotions will run high at town-hall meetings, and it did at times become intense. That’s understandable given what’s taken place on our campus.”

That discussion continued March 2, when campus leaders, including Chancellor Brady Deaton, held a regularly scheduled meeting with student groups that included the Legion of Black Collegians, the Missouri Students Association and student diversity organizations.

“This university is fully committed to tolerance and respect for every one of its members, and this kind of conduct will not be tolerated at MU,” Deaton said. He asked the university community “to join me in expressing your own individual concern and support to the members of our community who were the apparent targets.

“MU celebrates the diversity of our community and this behavior offends us all.”

Also on March 2, MU Police Department arrested two men, both Mizzou students, at about 7:30 p.m. and charged them with second degree tampering. A police department media release said the charge is considered a class D felony “due to sentencing provisions under Revised Missouri Statute 557.035 hate crimes — provides enhanced penalties for motivational factors in certain crimes.”

In a statement issued March 3, Deaton said, “Based on the information available to me, and in accordance with the University of Missouri’s Student Conduct Code, I have determined it is in the best interest of the university community to temporarily suspend those students … who have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the incident that occurred on Feb. 26 at the front entrance of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, pending the outcome of the formal student conduct process. The Boone County Prosecutor will make a determination related to any criminal prosecution.”

Capt. Brian Weimer of the MU Police Department said the arrest was made possible due to an anonymous tip the department received. He said the investigation in continuing.