By: Regina Wright & Arena Rowe ~Staff Writers~
Following demands from student protestors concerned about racial discrimination on campus, Tim Wolfe, president of The University of Missouri (MU), resigned on Nov. 9.
Wolfe announced his resignation after a special meeting was called on Monday by the university’s governing body.
“My motivation in making this decision comes from love,” he said. “I love MU, Columbia, where I grew up, the state of Missouri.” Wolfe addressed student protests in his resignation.
“This is not the way change should come about,” he said. “Change comes from listening, learning, caring and conversation. Use my resignation to heal and start talking again.”
Hours after Wolfe’s resignation, the chancellor of the university, R. Bowen Loftin, also announced he was resigning from his position. During his resignation, Loftin praised Jonathan Butler, a graduate student, who had been on a hunger strike since Nov. 2.
“I want to acknowledge his extraordinary courage and leadership,” Loftin said. “A very tough young man, a very focused young man, a very intelligent and forward- looking young man, so we owe him a lot.”
Butler ended his strike after Wolfe announced his resignation. During his hunger strike, Butler received the support of several MU organizations, including the football team who threatened, with their coach’s support, not to practice or play again until Butler had ended his strike.
“I was just so overwhelmed about what this truly means… that students who want to go to college and get an education can now have a fighting chance at having a fair education on a campus that is safe and inclusive,” Butler said.
Wolfe’s resignation became effective after his announcement. Loftin will transition into a new position for research starting in January. On Wednesday, Connor Stottlemyre, a Northwest Missouri State University student, was arrested for making a terrorist threat on the anonymous app Yik Yak, “I’m going to shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready.”
On Thursday, Michael Middleton was announced as Missouri’s interim president. Middleton has been working on diversity and inclusion on the campus and also served as the former deputy chancellor.
“The time has come for us to acknowledge and address our daunting challenges,” Middleton said. “And return to our relentless adherence to the University of Missouri’s mission to discover, disseminate, preserve and apply knowledge.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, MU men’s basketball team came to face off against Xavier. The night before, every student received an email from the Student Government Association (SGA) calling for students “to recognize and support the courageous fight and fearless mission of Mizzou Athletics and their student body.”
“To the students of color at Mizzou, we, the student body of Xavier University stand with you in solidarity,” the email said. “In the midst of racism, we must act with integrity, justice and generosity to ensure the safety and happiness of each and every individual. #InSolidarityWithMizzou.”
From 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. students were called to come stand outside of Cintas Center. It was not to be considered a march or a protest, but a silent demonstration of solidarity with MU students.
“As a student body it is our honor to formally echo their sentiments and we confidently assert that our faculty and staff champion this passion,” SGA said in the email.
A few minutes before 6:00, there were roughly 20 people lined up, arms linked, already standing in silence. As time went on people fell into line, linking arms with one another and standing in silence to support Mizzou. The number eventually climbed to about 100 Xavier students.