University of Missouri Protests Grow After Athletes Join

COLUMBIA, MO.— Long-simmering protests at the University of Missouri over matters of race and discrimination got a boost over the weekend when at least 30 black football players announced they will not participate in team activities until the university system's president is removed.

For months, black student groups have complained of racial slurs and other slights on the overwhelmingly white, 35,000-student flagship campus of the four-college system. Frustrations flared during a homecoming parade Oct. 10 when black protesters blocked system President Tim Wolfe's car and he would not get out and talk to them. They were removed by police.

On Saturday night, black members of the football team joined the outcry. By Sunday, a campus sit-in had grown in size, graduate student groups planned walk outs, politicians began to weigh in, and a special meeting of the university system's governing body was set for Monday morning in Columbia.

Wolfe hasn't indicated he has any intention of stepping down, but agreed in a statement Sunday that “change is needed” and said the university is working to draw up a plan by April to promote diversity and tolerance. READ MORE OF THIS STORY ON VOA NEWS ONLINE

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