Mizzou students demanded ‘heat and refrigeration’ during November protests

Email correspondences extracted from the University of Missouri’s (Mizzou) system server reveal that participants in last November’s protests demanded generators and a fire pit to keep warm while they camped out on their school’s quad.

“The students tenting/demonstrating are asking for a generator for their campsite,” Chief Diversity Officer Noor Azizan-Gardner wrote in a series of emails obtained exclusively by Heat Street and National Review. “Is there any way that we can help with this? Let me know if this is even possible.”

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“We got them power this morning,” Vice Chancellor for Operations Gary Ward replied only two minutes later.

Although Mizzou’s administration quickly agreed to their requests, protesters were dissatisfied with the results, complaining that they needed even more power strips to sustain their electrical use.

“I just heard from the students that they have one power strip with 8 outlets on it and it’s connected to one of the power sources on the quad,” Azizan-Gardner wrote in a follow-up email sent to Ward not even four hours after their initial exchange. “The students are concerned that they may trip the circuitry if they overload it. So, they have texted me that they need to have more power outlets and/or a small generator so that they can have heat and refrigeration this weekend. Please let me know how we can provide this for them.”

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Ward, who had his staff make accommodations for the protesters “first thing” in the morning, responded indignantly.

“That is all we have and I had folks come in first thing to get that. I am very concerned with providing a gas generator for safety concerns. That also requires us to have a person come in and keep them in gas. I very much appreciate our students and their right to protest but they are right now killing grass and putting stakes in the ground where we have [an] underground sprinkler system,” he wrote in reply.

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He continued, saying that student protesters should not be granted special privileges to camp out on a quad that his staff has worked hard to maintain.

“No other group or individual has been allowed to set up home on our quad. Typically when a tent request comes in the request needs a [procurement code] to pay for all the associated expenses. I request they move off our quad that many of our folks have worked very hard to make enjoyable for the entire university community. It really was not designed for a campsite,” he added.

But Chancellor Bowen Loftin, who had been copied on the email, overruled Ward’s suggestion and asked that his staff provide “a generator of [their] own or access to more power from campus.”

“Will do,” Ward complied.

About an hour later, Ward wrote back, saying that the “generator [was] set up” but students were now asking for “a fire pit” to help fight the cold.

Ward said he ultimately rejected their request since university procedure requires students to submit requests days in advance. It is unclear if the administration ever granted protesters permission to build a fire pit but photos of the protests suggest that students resorted to heat lamps as an alternative.

Ward also noted that several of the protesters were not actually students.

“We have non students who have joined on the site,” he wrote, seemingly with no response from his administrative peers.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski