8 Things You Need To Know This AM

University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned following days of protests over escalating frustrations concerning racism on campus.

The University of Missouri has been embroiled in racial controversy and tension for months, with students condemning campus culture, and administrators’ lack of action. The lingering discontent recently erupted into multiple student protests, including a graduate student’s hunger strike, and a boycott of all “football-related activities” by at least 30 Black football players. Amidst criticism of his “negligence toward marginalized students’ experience,” university president Tim Wolfe stepped down from office. “I take full responsibility for this frustration,” Wolfe said. “And I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred.” (Refinery29)
Whole Foods is dropping its prices in order to shake that dogged “Whole Paycheck” reputation.

After noticing a decline in sales, Whole Foods co-CFO John Mackey shared the company’s plans to cut prices by introducing more sales and promotions. “In this dynamic and increasingly competitive marketplace, we recognize we need to move faster and go deeper in creating a solid foundation for our long-term profitable growth,” Mackey said. (Refinery29)
SeaWorld San Diego will end its killer whale shows, replacing them with a “new orca experience” that emphasizes conservation.

After years of controversy and criticism, SeaWorld is giving in to activists’ demands, but only slightly. By next year, the marine theme park’s San Diego outpost will no longer include killer whale shows. In an effort to combat its 12% decline in attendance, SeaWorld San Diego will open a new “informative” orca “experience” that will be held in a more natural environment, and share a “conservation message inspiring people to act.” This news would probably be more inspiring if SeaWorld phased out the orca show at all of its parks, not just San Diego. (Refinery29)
An 11-year-old girl was kicked off her cheerleading team for not straightening her curly hair.

According to one Texas mother, her 11-year-old daughter was kicked off the Woodlands Elite Cheer team for refusing to straighten her naturally curly hair for competitions. “It would destroy her hair,” Jenny Fallaw told KTRK-TV. “So I wanted to explain to them my reasoning." Jenny’s daughter Makayla was only informed of the new hair requirement a few weeks ago. Since Makayla and her mother refused to submit to the straightener, the young girl was asked to leave the squad. “I felt like it might make my daughter feel like her hair is not good enough,” Jenny explained. “Because she’s not like other girls.” (Refinery29)
Catalan lawmakers approved a plan for secession from Spain.

Catalonia’s regional assembly approved a resolution that will allow the autonomous community to fully secede from Spain and form “an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic” by 2017. The resolution passed, despite rumblings from Madrid’s central government that such an act violates the Spanish constitution. “I’ve said it continuously and I reiterate it today — the government will not allow this continue,” said Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “Catalonia will not disconnect itself from anywhere, and there will be no fracture.” (The Guardian)
Egyptian journalist and activist Hossam Bahgat was detained by authorities over an investigative story.

Human rights groups are calling for the release of Hossam Bahgat, a investigative journalist for progressive site Mada Masr and founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Bahgat was detained by military intelligence, and questioned for hours on charges of “publishing inaccurate and false information that harms national interests.” His most recent article probed the convictions of 26 military officers accused of plotting a coup. (NPR)

Some Christians are extremely upset about Starbucks’ new red holiday cups, claiming the coffee chain is participating in the “War on Christmas.”

While previous Starbucks holiday cups of yore have featured appropriate seasonal imagery, like snowflakes, ornaments, and reindeer, this year the company “wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all our stories,” said Starbucks Vice President Jeffery Fields. As such, the new cups are much more minimalist — they’re red. That’s it. Just red. Some Christians are furious with the change, claiming the plain cups are “emblematic of the Christian culture cleansing of the West.” Starbucks has released a statement in response to the backlash, saying it wishes to “create a culture of belonging, inclusion, and diversity.” (Refinery29)
Yes, Miley Cyrus was actually butt-naked backstage at the VMAs.

Everybody has an opinion about Miley Cyrus, and the labels levied on the outspoken singer range from "cultural appropriator" to "classless act." But according to the winter issue of fashion glossy V Magazine, an icon of the drag queen community thinks of Cyrus as no less than a "trailblazer" in the fight to bring drag culture into the mainstream. The spread also includes a poster of Cyrus and all the queens who were featured in the VMAs performance. And, since nudity seems to be part of the pop star's package deal these days, there is naturally a shot of Cyrus, butt-naked — backstage at the VMAs. (Refinery29)

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