University of Missouri president steps down amid racial tension on campus


Justin L. Stewart

Students from the Concerned Student 1950 group record video on their smartphones as they confront UM System then-President Tim Wolfe outside of the Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Mo., Friday night, Nov. 6, 2015.

Danielle Ferguson

Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri, announced his resignation Monday morning after numerous student, student athlete and faculty protests regarding his responses to racial tension on the campus.

Wolfe said Monday his resignation was effective immediately. The announcement came from a special meeting of the university’s governing body, the Board of Curators, according to The Associated Press.

About 30 African-American University of Missouri football players said Saturday they refused to participate in any activities until Wolfe resigned or was fired. The players announcement came after a Mizzou African American graduate student had been on a hunger strike since around Nov. 2 in response to a swastika drawn in human feces, which appeared Oct. 24 on a white dorm wall.

Jonathan L. Butler, 25, an African American graduate student, said he was on a hunger strike, only drinking water, until Wolfe stepped down.

Faculty joined students in the protest Monday morning, with The Concerned Faculty group announcing it was to begin a two-day walkout in support of student activists who say the school and its president has done little to address the racism on campus.

A statement from Wolfe on Friday said:

“Racism does exist at our university and it is unacceptable. It is a long-standing, systemic problem which daily affects our family of students, faculty and staff. I am sorry this is the case. I truly want all members of our university community to feel included, valued and safe.”

In a video, university students asked Wolfe for the definition of systematic oppression.

“Systematic oppression is when you don’t believe you have an equal opportunity for success,” Wolfe said.  

The students can be heard asking if he blames black students for systematic oppression. 

Turmoil on campus has been boiling long before the swastika appeared, with Missouri Students Association president Payton Head posting about a racial slur including the “N-word” and a group of protesters blocking Wolfe’s car at a homecoming parade, according to the Columbia Missourian.