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Missouri State University planning scholarship named after George Floyd

(KY3)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 9:50 PM CDT
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Missouri State University will start a scholarship dedicated to George Floyd. The announcement comes after a college in Minneapolis called on all American universities to name a scholarship after the Minnesota man who died during an arrest there.

The president of North Central University, where Floyd's memorial was held, announced that university would be establishing a scholarship in Floyd's name.

Missouri State University President Clif Smart announced his news on Twitter Friday, writing not only would the school start a scholarship named after George Floyd, but Smart would be the first to donate to it.

One former and one current student spoke to KY3 News about their experiences on campus and the changes they'd still like to see.

"On campus specifically, I think some people, their racism is very clear," said Aaliyah Williams.

Williams is a graduate student at Missouri State University. She's already spent four years on campus for her undergrad.

"I would get comments like, 'You're different than other black people, you don't talk like a black person.' I had an adviser who, every time I would go and meet with her, she would touch my hair," she said.

Jimmie Sims spent several years in Springfield after he got his degree from what was then, Southwest Missouri State University.

"As a student I definitely felt like an outcast, a stepchild, I guess you would say," Sims said.

MSU has a long-range plan to improve diversity and inclusion on campus. The website states all of Springfield plays a role in its success.

Sims remembers one moment where the city did not feel so welcoming.

"A vehicle drove by and someone shouted out the N-word. Granted this wasn't on the university campus but this was the temperament in Springfield," he said.

A member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Sims is focused on combating racism among students. He said President Smart's announcement of the George Floyd Scholarship is exciting.

"This thing is bigger than George Floyd, even though he named it after the George Floyd Scholarship, I feel like there's a bigger message," Sims said.

Williams said she's afraid starting the scholarship is simply a knee-jerk reaction, and is hoping for more change.

"How does that account still for the other factors of challenges they experience on campus with racism and micro-aggression and biases that may be within their peers, their professors," she wondered.

KY3 News asked for an interview with President Smart about the scholarship, but was deferred to his statements online. Smart wrote on Twitter there will be more information about MSU's George Floyd Scholarship coming out next week.

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for more information about MSU's long-range plan for diversity and inclusion.

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