Dogged by a series of racially-motivated incidents, the specter of increasing student protests, football players refusing to compete in remaining games and accusations of administrative inactivity, University of Missouri president, Tim Wolfe, resigned on Monday.
School Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin will step down at the end of the fall term to accept a position with the University effective January 1.
Stating “this is not, I repeat not, the way change comes about,” Wolfe opened his press conference to announce his resignation and continued:
“I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred. My decision to resign comes out of love, not hate. Please, please use this resignation to heal, not to hate.”
Wolfe’s resignation is driven by a string of incidents which began in early September, shortly after the resumption of classes at the Columbia, Missouri, campus in the fall.
In early September, Payton Head, president of the Missouri Students Association, posted on his Facebook page he had been harassed by an unidentified man driving a pickup truck.
Shortly after Head’s incident, excreta in the shape of a swastika appeared outside a campus dormitory.
Roiled by perceived administration inertia, protests led by ConcernedStudent1950 emerged and included a group of students confronting Wolfe as he attempted to maneuver his car on campus during Homecoming week celebrations.
As support for Wolfe evaporated, one student, Jonathan Butler, held a week-long hunger strike; 30 members of the Missouri football team refused to practice or compete, pledging not to return until Wolfe stepped down; and in a broiling climax, nine university deans demanded Loftin’s resignation in a letter to Wolfe and the university’s Board of Curators over Wolfe and a host of unrelated issues.
While these racially-charged incidents are not excusable and part of the sad phenomena of racism, ousting two men who led the administration at the University of Missouri will not remedy anything with the exception of placing a victory in the bosoms on the aggrieved.
Neither Wolfe nor Loftin approve of such egregious behavior directed against students; both are likely to be devoted to basic truths in society and honest conduct in academia.
[Reuters] [Photo courtesy eventplanning.missouri.edu]