The group Concerned Student 1950 has demanded a meeting with Governor Jay Nixon, among others, but Nixon has been the target of criticism for how he’s handled African-American issues.
University of Missouri Political Science Professor Peverill Squire says Nixon still carries that criticism.
“But I think for the most part, as a Democrat in a very Republican state at the moment, he’s probably better positioned to be of assistance than most other elected officials,” Squire told Missourinet.
As his time as governor nears an end Squire says he is not sure Nixon has anything to lose by meeting with those students.
“But he probably wants to make sure they have some clear idea what they’re asking before they sit down and meet,” said Squire. “So I think this is something where he can certainly listen to them. I’m not sure whether he’ll be able to deliver much in the way of policy changes of the sort that they might wish to ask of him.”
Squire says the students might simply want some indication that Nixon sees their concerns as a high priority.
“I would imagine Governor Nixon would be able to, at least on that point, give them some comfort,” said Squire.
Nixon’s office, in a statement, does not explicitly say whether he’ll meet with those students, but said he is “always open to hearing from Missourians about their perspectives on the challenges we face and their ideas for moving the state forward.”
Additionally, Nixon’s spokesperson, Channing Ansley, wrote, “The Governor is urging the Board of Curators to conduct a thoughtful, transparent and inclusive process to select new leadership who will bring people together and move this vital institution forward. He looks forward to working with the next president of the University of Missouri system, once he or she is chosen by the Board of Curators, to further strengthen Missouri’s position as a leader in college quality, affordability and innovation.”