COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A crowd made up of students marched around the University of Missouri campus Monday to protest changes planned to the campus social justice centers.
Dozens of marchers, some with signs, gathered at Traditions Plaza on Monday before marching to nearby Jesse Hall. The marchers later went to other parts of the campus including Lowry Mall.
MU operates five social justice centers: the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, LGBTQ Resource Center, Multicultural Center (MCC), Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center and the Women's Center.
Rumors were spread of defunding the department, and combining the five centers into one; emails were sent out about some staff members being laid off.
The marchers say minority students on campus feel like the centers are the only places on campus they can go for support.
The Department of Social Justice at MU is part of the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity.
A spokesman for the MU campus, Christian Basi, said these changes they are making are a part of a restructuring plan.
"We are working based on feedback we received earlier this academic year. We are working to actually build so that they have additional resources that they can use to support our students and our faculty and staff," Basi said.
The University said they are doing nothing but enhancing the abilities of the justice centers by adding more qualified staff and more resources.
Part of the restructuring of the department includes elevating and reclassifying a few staff positions. This will cause the staff members to have to reapply for their positions.
"Staff will have to reapply to make sure that they have the expertise, the experience, and the ability to support the students," Basi said.
Based on ongoing strategic planning conversations, the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity is implementing a restructuring plan that will enhance its ability to support students on campus.
These plans are said to include more money for the center, but the school is still working on how much exactly that will be.
Addressing concerns of staff members being fired the University said the staff will have to reapply to make sure they have the expertise, the experience, and the abilities to support the students.