Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, resigned on November 9 after a series of campus demonstrations protesting his lack of appropriate action by Wolfe regarding incidents of racism on the campus of the University of Missouri at Columbia. Later, the same day, R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor of the Columbia campus, announced that he will step down on January 1.
Graduate student Jonathan L. Butler began a hunger strike on November 2, saying he would not eat until Wolfe resigned or was forced out of office. The crisis escalated on Saturday, November 7, when players on the University of Missouri football team stated that they would not participate in any football related activities until Wolfe was no longer president. The coaching staff supported its players. Faculty called for a walkout of classes on Monday and Tuesday in support of student protesters. And hundreds of alumni signed a letter to Governor Jay Nixon calling for Wolfe’s ouster.
In this resignation statement (which can be viewed in the video below), Wolfe said: “The question really is, why did we get to this very difficult situation? It is my belief we stopped listening to each other. We didn’t respond or react. We got frustrated with each other and we forced individuals like Jonathan Butler to take immediate action and unusual steps to affect change. This is not, the way change should come about. Change comes from listening, learning, caring, and conversation. And we have to respect each other enough to stop yelling at each other and start listening and quit intimidating each other.”
After Wolfe’s resignation, Butler ended his hunger strike and the football team began preparations for playing Brigham Young University on Saturday.