Wednesday 28 September 2016

Black football players strike in attempt to oust university president over alleged inaction on campus racism

David Kearns

Published 09/11/2015 | 10:57

More than 30 players from the University of Missouri football team have gone on strike over claims their university president hasn't dealt properly with racism on campus Credit: LBC
More than 30 players from the University of Missouri football team have gone on strike over claims their university president hasn't dealt properly with racism on campus Credit: LBC

Black football players from a US college say they will continue to boycott games until their university president resigns over alleged inaction against racism on campus.

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More than 30 players from the University of Missouri team in Columbia have joined calls demanding the ousting of Tim Wolfe, the president of the state's four-campus university system.

In a statement, the group of black players, along with their coaches, said: "The athletes of colour on the University of Missouri football team truly believe 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'.

"We will no longer participate in any football-related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalised students' experience."

Students encourage others to chant during a
Students encourage others to chant during a "day of action" to draw attention to their demands in University of Missouri campus Credit: Daniel Brenner/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP

A photograph posted online shows the players and their coaches locking arms in a sign of solidarity.

The athletes said they were joining other protest groups at the 35,000 campus.

Student activists have long complained about what they describe as racial slurs and “white favouritism” in many aspects of campus life.

Black student leaders have complained of students openly using racial slurs and other incidents.

University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe Credit: Jeff Roberson (AP)
University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe Credit: Jeff Roberson (AP)

In August, someone used faeces to draw a swastika on the campus, drawing condemnation from black and Jewish student organisations.

In response to the football team’s protest, President Wolfe promised to address concerns over white favouritism.

Students chant during an anti-racism demonstration inside the University of Missouri Student Center in Columbia Credit: Daniel Brenner/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP
Students chant during an anti-racism demonstration inside the University of Missouri Student Center in Columbia Credit: Daniel Brenner/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP

"It is clear to all of us that change is needed, and we appreciate the thoughtfulness and passion which have gone into the sharing of concerns," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Mr Wolfe added that the university had been working on "a systematic diversity and inclusion strategy" to be unveiled next year.

However, he did not say whether he was planning to resign

Racial tensions have been boiling over in Missouri since 2014 after a white policeman killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in the town of Ferguson.

The shooting sparked widespread demonstrations across America against racial bias by the police.

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