- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The man hired to help ease racial tensions at the University of Missouri issued a strongly worded letter to student protesters last week, declaring that the time for “demands, threats and arbitrary deadlines is over.”

Chuck Henson — MU’s interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity — responded Thursday to a revised list of demands that members of Concerned Student 1950 made during campus protests last fall, The Missourian reported. The revised list released Wednesday included demands for the “targeted hiring” of black faculty and an “academic bankruptcy program” that lets students remove an entire semester from their records, Fox News reported.

“If you sincerely want better relationships, the time for demands, threats and arbitrary deadlines is over — you don’t need them,” Mr. Henson wrote in the letter.

He told the group that he has met with hundreds of students and that several invitations to speak with Concerned Student 1950 have gone unanswered.

“Had you accepted my invitation to meet face-to-face, you would already know the answers to most of the issues raised in your recent communication,” Mr. Henson wrote.

“There are things, like hiring faculty or staff, or admitting students based on protected characteristics to meet a numerical target, will not and cannot be done,” he said. “It is against state and federal law. It also is a bad model for a sustainable community.”

UM System Interim President Mike Middleton echoed Mr. Henson‘s language in an emailed response to the revised demands, The Missourian reported.

“The time for demands has passed,” he wrote.

Mr. Middleton encouraged the group to be “part of the solution” by attending working groups designed by Mr. Henson to improve relationships between students and administration. Its first meeting Feb. 17 was poorly attended by student activists, The College Fix reported.

Concerned Student 1950 responded to Mr. Henson‘s letter on Twitter Friday.

“Members of CS1950 have met with VC Henson, attended the “Working Group,” and are present in many spaces. We believe in shared governance!” the group’s official Twitter account tweeted. “@MaxHPF & @DevaSTating_14, are two reps who have met with Vice Chancellor Henson. We’ll continue to do so. Change comes from working together.”

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