COLUMBIA – UM System president Mun Choi met with questions from faculty during an MU Faculty Council meeting Thursday, questions that ranged from the fate of the Thomas Jefferson statue to perceived employee intimidation.
David Singh, a physics professor, asked Choi about his plans to contextualize the Jefferson statue after he turned down faculty and student requests to remove it.
Singh suggested painting the words, “Say her name Sally Hemings” next to the statue.
Choi said he didn’t think that would be something the campus would do.
Multiple faculty members brought up Choi’s calling out of employees who signed a petition to remove the Jefferson statue.
“If the purpose was to defend the University, why not put out a statement responding to the petition to the media? Why pick out a handful of faculty members to send that to if you’re not trying to intimidate them?” Bill Horner, a political science professor, asked Choi.
“I wanted them to know that there’s another side to the story, that we are not anti-black,” Choi said. “And also, maybe the culture here is that when people get a call from the president or chancellor, and stops you on the sidewalk and asks you what department you’re in, don’t be so alarmed.”
The faculty also questioned Choi’s plan to combine the jobs of UM System president and Columbia chancellor into a single position.
Faculty at Missouri S&T and UMKC have voted against combining the positions, but MU’s faculty did not vote on the plan Thursday. The UM Board of Curators is set to consider the plan at its meeting next week.