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March 18, 2010 Volume 31, No. 24

A banner evening

KU students present banner to MU

Students from KU present MU students with a unity banner commemorating a commitment to diversity at a March 11 town hall meeting held at the Bond Life Sciences Center’s Monsanto Auditorium. From left are Arooj Zafar, Drew Case, Kelsey Murrell, Marcus Mayes, Marcus Ferguson, Tasha Wells and Jasmine Arnold. Clay McGlaughlin photo

Choosing unity

KU students travel to Mizzou to promote diversity

Given Mizzou’s longstanding rivalry with its nemesis to the west, the sentiment expressed on a banner last week was more than a little unusual: “KU supports MU.”

The banner was presented to Mizzou by a delegation of five University of Kansas students during a March 11 town hall meeting in the Life Sciences Center’s Monsanto Auditorium.

The meeting, dubbed “Courageous Conversations,” was held to promote diversity on campus and to allow the university community to discuss an earlier incident in which cotton balls were scattered in front of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center.

That incident prompted KU student Kelsey Murrell, a residence hall assistant on the Lawrence campus, to organize a grass-roots response to show solidarity with Mizzou. She and her Kansas cohorts delivered a banner inscribed on a double-sized sheet that read,“We choose unity. KU supports MU in the promotion of diversity.” The banner was signed by dozens of Kansas students and was presented to the Black Culture Center.

In an earlier letter to Mizzou deans and department chairs, Chancellor Brady Deaton charged those university leaders “to seize this opportunity to take bold steps toward engaging your faculty, students and staff to consider such issues of diversity, to strengthen our commitment to diversity and to improve the level of respect and the celebration of differences among us.”