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Missouri student president: School has racism, also unity

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Student protests and outrage over the University of Missouri’s handling of racial issues has brought national attention.

But Payton Head, the gay, black president of the Missouri Students Association, is challenging a narrative that has come to define the school as a hotbed of racism.

Recent racist incidents led to protests including one student’s hunger strike and a threatened boycott by the football team. The university system president and the campus chancellor resigned.

Head says he’s been called racial slurs since he started at the Columbia school.

But he also says the problems lie with a small number of people, and that students want an inclusive campus.

Head says former administrators gave the impression discrimination is tolerated at the university and that allowed racist acts to keep occurring.

By SUMMER BALLENTINE, Associated Press