On Monday, November 9th, President Tim Wolfe resigned after extreme pressure from the university student body over his failure to address a multitude of issues regarding blatant signs of racism on campus.
The president’s resignation is following a series of serious incidents over the past months at the university. In early September, black student Payton Head, the Student Association’s President, was subjected to racial slurs such as the use of the n word by a group of males in a truck while on campus. The university’s response: nonexistent. In October, the Legion of Black Collegians had been practicing a homecoming skit when they faced the outburst of a drunken student that screamed racially motivated labels on stage at the rehearsal. The university’s response: null and void. Later that month on the 24th, a swastika was smeared on the wall using human feces. The university? Nothing.
Concerned Student 1950 is an activist group on campus (1950 signifying the year that the first black student was admitted to the university) that has been hosting a series of nonviolent demonstrations in response to the incidents of racial harassment. They essentially created a manifesto; the list of demands with priority number one being the resignation and public apology of the President himself.
Tim Wolfe at last responded to the mounting pressure after a student, Jonathan Butler, went on a hunger strike, and the University’s football team- with full support from their coach- boycotted the upcoming game against Brigham Young University and any future practices until Butler ended his strike. This forfeiture of the football game would have cost the University roughly one million dollars. Yikes.
What seems to be the most shocking thing of all? There are people actually in uproar over the president’s resignation. They’re outraged at Wolfe’s submission to the student body demands, but don’t seem to bat an eyelash at the institutionalized racism that Wolfe so obviously breeding due to his inaction? Seems strange. Seems outrageous.
During the announcement of his resignation, Wolfe claims that the administration is working on “system wide diversity, and inclusion strategy.” In regards to the list of demands produced by Concerned Student 1950, he simply commended them for their specific desires, and assured that the systems of the future already planned to implement/address the demands of the students.
Chancellor Bowin Loftin is also stepping down to an alternative position that will be dedicated to focus on progressing research efforts.
What we can gather from the events at Mizzou: the student voice is a powerful one. Inaction against marginalization is no longer O.K. The students aren’t here to throw money to a university that waters the roots of racism; the students are here to be concerned, to be loud, to make change.