Western professors join News-Press protests

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Chants of “We are not satisfied,” could be heard in downtown St. Joseph Monday evening as 50-70 people gathered outside the St. Joseph News-Press.

Crowds gathered to rally against statements made by News-Press owner David Bradley who spoke to national broadcast station PBS News on February 22, 2017.

During the interview for PBS, Bradley was asked what he believed the people of St. Joseph thought about President Donald Trump’s first two months in office. Bradley responded to the question by saying, “I think people are fairly well satisfied with what Donald Trump is doing now.”

Several Missouri Western professors joined in on the rally, including Professor of English Marianne Kunkel. Kunkel also organized the event and said she felt strongly about getting all sides of the argument heard within the community.

“To use words like ‘fairly well satisfied’ and to say we are turned off by protests and that we just wish to sit back and relax; he had an obligation when he went in front of a national audience to speak a little bit more nuance and in a more nuanced way about this town,” Kunkel said.

The goal of the rally was to show the News-Press that not everyone in the town is on the same page when it comes to the current government administration.

David Bradley made an appearance at the protest, coming out to offer answers to many of the protesters questions. Professor of Political Science Melinda Kovacs said she was less than pleased to see how Bradley handled the situation.

“You’ve got to give credit where credit is due; he did come out and he did take some questions,” Kovacs said. “One gentleman kept repeating the same question, and Mr. Bradley said, “you shut up or I’m leaving”, and then he turned around and walked back into the building.”

Kovacs wasn’t the only protester with negative feelings about Bradley. Communications Professor Shawna Harris said she wasn’t impressed by many of his comments.

“He definitely responded emotionally at the end and left in a less than positive way,” Harris said.

Once Bradley left the crowd, the protest resumed without violence or aggression. Kunkel said the rally was not meant to start fights, but to make sure the community recognizes there are many different voices within the city.

“I know that this is a conservative city, I know that this is a conservative state, but there is diversity and it needs to be  recognized,” Kunkel said.

When asked about what she believed the outcome of the protest would be, Kunkel said this rally was not the end.

“I think we keep the conversation going,” Kunkel said. “I think people getting out and doing the wonderfully brave, awesome thing these people did which is make signs, get time off their jobs, find babysitters or get here in whatever way they can. It mobilizes us, and just makes us stronger.”