After a week of protests for racial justice, racial tension, and media fallout punctuated by the resignation of the University president and some professors, the University of Missouri has tried to begin turning the corner beginning with the selection of an interim president. Yesterday, the Board of Curators voted to have Michael Middleton, a black civil rights attorney, replace ousted president Tim Wolfe, who resigned Monday. And in his first statement, Middleton came out swinging. Hard. According to the Los Angeles Times:
At a packed news conference to announce his appointment, Michael Middleton, 68, a retired longtime administrator at the university, spoke bluntly about "systemic racism" he saw on campus.
"It crossed my mind that my 30-year career here had been a total failure," he said of watching protests this semester.
Middleton, who said he was not seeking the permanent job of president of the system's four public universities, promised to work with black campus activists to confront issues surrounding racial inequality at the system's flagship campus in Columbia.
"It's so subtle," he said. "I think women understand it. I think people with a sexual orientation [that is not straight] understand it. I think other people of color understand it.... It is just the feeling of not being heard, not being respected, and being placed on the margins of what's happening in the world."
He added: "I sympathize with white people who don't understand. I don't blame white people who don't understand." He said the way forward was to confront the nation's history of racial discrimination — which he has long worked to combat.
i'm reserving an opinion until the tires get kicked and we see whether he can overcome the forces that be that apparently sanctioned this kind of attitude toward students not of their preference. as far as his sympathy with those who oppose i can see that at the under informed level but at the college level i see it as arrogant racism and bigotry perpetrated from a sense of privileged arrogance i also think those he sympathizes with will take umbrage and maybe create more resistance to any advancing.