Let me be clear right now: I support my alma mater, 100%.

I cannot imagine a day where I won’t.

Supporting your school, though, is not about ignoring its areas of need.

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Supporting your school means consistently working together, as a team, to make it better. 

While it saddens me to flip through the timeline The Missourian has put together, because it’s clear that there are a number of issues facing Mizzou right now that have (almost) nothing to do with our football losing streak, I’m also happy to see so many students taking a stand for what they believe (and often know) is right.

Believe me, if I were still an undergrad, or even still living in CoMo, I would have been at as many of those protests as I could have been, to lend my support. I would have been telling everyone, “Hey, did you know that my second major is English?” after that vote of No Confidence. And you’d better believe I would have been in pink to Stand with Planned Parenthood – that’s my pet issue, for those of you who aren’t in the know. This might be why I would have made a horrible journalist – too many biases to declare.

And while I like to believe the best in people, I have to say that watching the footage of President Wolfe saying that “systematic oppression is because you don’t believe you have the equal opportunity for success” mere hours after issuing an apology sickens me to my very core.

President Wolfe? I’ve decided that he’s not really Mizzou material. That’s the main area that I both agree/disagree with the protesters on – they’re calling for people to see the real Mizzou, and to me, that’s not President Wolfe. The real Mizzou is them. I, like many of the current students and faculty there, would prefer that Wolfe just go ahead and pack his bags. We don’t need attitudes like that, not when we have out student body.

But he’s NOT my college. Those protestors are my college – all of them.

Jonathan Butler is Mizzou.

The football players on strike are Mizzou.

Even the protestors who may not agree with me or are on the other side, they’re Mizzou.

Why? Because my college is about standing up for what you believe in, making an effort to understand each other, and reaching a common ground. We can’t do that until we’re open and honest with each other.

It’s about bringing people together and supporting one another against the people who would bring us down. That’s what I’m telling my students as more and more national attention comes to the issues at hand – I’m not shying away from the topic, I’m inviting the discussion, because they need to understand that there are people who are beacons of leadership and a shiny future in this murky mess, and that’s the real Mizzou. Remember when we stood up with Michael Sam? Our students support each other, and we’re willing to get messy to make change happen. That’s what I’m proud of.

So yes, I support Mizzou. I support a Mizzou that grows and changes and learns from its mistakes. I support the Mizzou that I know, that wasn’t afraid of a little public attention and often welcomed it in an effort to make progress happen.

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About Imagine Truth

We seek to learn, and when academics do not present the answers, we look inside our own beautiful imaginations for the key.

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