In support of the Faculty walkout

In support of the walk out at MU today, I sent this email to my students this morning:

"Class – As many of you may be aware, the faculty have decided that Monday and Tuesday this week they will walk out in support of the ‪#‎ConcernedStudent1950‬ movement and the ongoing campout/hunger strike on the MU campus. I fully support this action, though the way it will manifest in this online class is somewhat different than me not showing up to teach. Also, unlike the walkout in support of the graduate students earlier this semester, simply making the course invisible is not an option because I haven’t had the opportunity to give you fair warning. Plus, we’re at a point in the semester where nothing much really happens on Monday or Tuesday except the posting of the week’s discussion threads. Instead, I’m sending this email to let you know my thoughts.

I’ve been at Mizzou a while, long enough to remember when someone threw cotton balls on the lawn of the Black Culture Center and when a group of students got the name “T.A. Brady” removed from the student center during its major renovation (because Brady, a former Dean, fought to keep black students out of the University in the 1940s). The issue of race and inequality is something that has long gone unaddressed on campus, or addressed only in fits and starts, and it is not simply a Mizzou problem but a symptom of something much larger and deeply integrated in to American culture.

I hope that, if nothing else, you take some time today to think about what would lead the black student population to feel aggrieved enough to take the actions they have. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, or just want to know more, the Maneater has had surprisingly good coverage of this entire semester, and has produced a great timeline of events:

Again, nothing will be different in this class during the walkout. I’m trying to tie what’s happening back in to the major themes of the class. If, as a sociologist, I don’t give you some tools to interpret current events like what’s happening on campus, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m supposed to."

Zach Rubin, 2018