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During a tense time on Missouri's campus, empathy is the most important trait

There is only one Missouri story at the moment. Here are some links.

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The Trib: Tensions high as MU students continue protests, hunger strike

MU Faculty Council chair Ben Trachtenberg released a statement late Friday on behalf of the council, which offers support to protesters.

The letter stated the faculty will continue to work with students and administration through the Race Relations and Diversity Enhancement committees "to pursue justice."

"To our students who are hurting, please know that you are not alone," Trachtenberg wrote in the faculty council’s letter. "Your faculty stand with you in desiring a more perfect university, and we will stand with you in working to make that desire real."

The Missourian: Jewish Student Organization, other student groups, support Concerned Student 1950

"We just opened this up to any members of the Jewish community who would want to come table with us," said Thalia Sass, president of the Jewish Student Organization. "The most important thing that we’re trying to do is create a discussion about the issues that are going on on campus right now."

Although Sass did not want to comment specifically on Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike, she said she supported "all the endeavors of Concerned Student 1950."

The Trib: MU students camp out, call for UM President Wolfe’s resignation
The Trib: Missouri football players threaten boycott

The Missourian: UPDATE: Black Missouri football players plan to join Wolfe protest through boycott
The Missourian: MU chancellor: 'We will not tolerate bigotry or hatred of any kind on our campus'
The Missourian: PHOTO GALLERY: Concerned Student 1950 members pray for support
The Missourian (George Kennedy): GEORGE KENNEDY: MU is mired in complicated matters, but who's responsible?

On Wednesday, I walked south past Jesse Hall and Traditions Plaza to the spot behind that iconic tiger statue where the group calling itself Concerned Student 1950 has pitched a half-dozen brightly colored tents.

I was hoping to talk with the most concerned student of all, Jonathan Butler, who has pledged to starve himself until President Wolfe resigns. "Oh, Jonathan’s not here," another student said. "He doesn’t stay here. He has to take care of himself." And so he should.

I was hoping to ask how he squared his do-or-die action with the seeming plea for patience he spoke about in one of the videos produced by the Faculty Council’s Committee on Race Relations: "Racism won’t be cured overnight because it wasn’t created overnight," he said. "What we can do at each of our different levels is start to make an impact."

Post-Dispatch: Mizzou football players say they won't play until president is ousted over race issues

News of the football players’ protest is the latest blow to an embattled president who, earlier in the day, was confronted by students outside a fundraiser in Kansas City.

A video of the confrontation shows a resigned-looking Wolfe talking to students as they prod him to give his definition of systematic oppression.

"I will give you an answer, and I’m sure it’ll be a wrong answer," he said.

"Systematic oppression is because you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success," he added.

PowerMizzou: Football players strike for removal of Wolfe

KC Star: Blacks on MU football team vow not to play until President Tim Wolfe is gone

SB Nation: Group of black Missouri players boycott football team in protest of university system president

The Maneater: Special Section – A Historic Fall at MU

Rome Madison: The Brightest Light At Ol' Mizzou

Before what appears to be a bit of a social media lockdown until something more organized later today or tomorrow, we did see this, in case you were wondering about support of white players on the football team:

For what it's worth, no, I do not think Wolfe's resignation will magically fix any of the underlying issues the university is dealing with at the moment. But when you're a figurehead, and when you fail to react in a positive or proactive manner to something of this nature (and Wolfe has admitted that he indeed failed in this way), this is the risk you run. You're paid a lot of money because of the importance of your job and because of the what I'll simply call the risk of being a figurehead.

Beyond that, I'll just say that the internet last night showed anybody who was watching that this isn't simply about a 'couple of incidents,' as I know some want to believe.

When you are part of a small population at a university -- one that has been clearly and definitively discriminated against, in university settings and many others through the years -- and when you get steady affirmation that a decent percentage of the majority population thinks in such a hateful manner, you're going to feel the need to organize in this way. Part of me is surprised it didn't happen earlier. All I ask for is, if you're part of the majority population, find as much empathy as you can muster. You don't have to believe in firing Wolfe, and you don't have to stand 100% behind the demands of Concerned Student 1950 to understand how such demands could take shape.