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Has MU bent over backwards to increase faculty diversity?

January 27, 2019


Political commentators often point to the fall 2015 protests at MU as the beginning of a national trend of emboldened student activists making noise at institutions of higher education.


In the case of writer David French and The National Review, MU is a cautionary tale about what happens when student activists are too loud — enrollment, finances and tradition suffer.  


In his Oct. 25 National Review essay, French contends the 2015 MU protesters were overreacting to what was happening around them or were reacting for reasons separate from racial justice.


"It’s worth pondering the lessons of arguably the most consequential campus protests since the Vietnam era," he wrote. "A flagship public university of a red state capitulated to unreasonable, far-left demands, and it paid a terrible price."


French made one claim that caught our eye: "Before and after the protests, (the university) bent over backwards to increase student and faculty diversity."


We reached out to French and MU spokesperson Liz McCune and scoured the public record to see what MU has done and is doing regarding faculty diversity.


It’s difficult to nail down what exactly "bent over backwards" means, so we decided not to put the statement on the Truth-O-Meter. But there is pertinent information to contextualize French's statement. 


Faculty diversity at MU


In the fall of 2015, activist group Concerned Student 1950 called for increasing the percentage of black faculty and staff at MU to 10 percent by academic year 2017-18. The city of Columbia is about 10 percent black; the University of Missouri student body is about 7 percent black.


And while MU has indeed taken measures to increase faculty diversity, faculty diversity has hardly increased. In 2015, black faculty was slightly less than 3 percent. The most recent data (2017) shows that 3.3 percent of MU’s faculty is black — 65 faculty members out of 1,969. Additionally, 44 percent of non-black faculty have tenure, while 22 percent of black faculty have tenure.


Read the full story at



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