University of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe has resigned, according to media reports.
Wolfe’s resignation followed an emergency Board of Curators meeting Monday morning amid growing protests from black students. Wolfe’s resignation was proffered in a statement that asked the university to “use my resignation to heal and start talking again.” He added, “My decision to resign comes out of love, not hate.” He also quoted from Psalm 46, saying, “God is our refuge and strength.”
A 25-year-old University of MIzzou graduate student, Jonathan Butler, was in the midst of a hunger strike calling for Wolfe’s resignation. The student government had called for a change in leadership in a letter citing non-specific increases in “intension and inequality with no systemic support,” a worsening in “quality of life,” and declining “mental health, academic quality and physical safety.” The undergraduate Missouri Students Association demanded Wolfe’s resignation because “students from many different races, genders, sexualities, abilities and other nationalities have not had their identities represented by the four core values of this institution.”
This weekend, members of Missouri’s football team said they would not practice or play until Butler’s demands were met. Another student group issued a list of demands that included “Tim Wolfe must acknowledge his white male privilege.”
The Missourian has a timeline with specifics about what led to the growing unrest, which begins with Missouri Students Association president Payton Head’s September Facebook post about being on the receiving end of a racial slur. A more recent entry:
Evening of Nov. 6: Protesters confront Wolfe in Kansas City
Student protesters with the group Concerned Student 1950 from both MU and the University of Missouri Kansas City met Wolfe outside a fundraiser at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City. One student released a video in which the UM System president responds to the question, “Tim Wolfe, what do you think systematic oppression is?”
Wolfe says, “It’s — systematic oppression is because you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success — ”
The crowd of students reacts negatively, and the chatter is mostly inaudible.
Someone in the crowd yells, “Did you just blame us for systematic oppression, Tim Wolfe? Did you just blame black students —” before the video cuts off.
Protests have covered a variety of complaints, from restoring clinical privileges for Planned Parenthood, a scandal-plagued abortion corporation, to restatement of stipends for health insurance for graduate assistants.