University Of Missouri Protests: President, Chancellor Resign Over Race Controversy

University Of Missouri Protests: President, Chancellor Resign Over Race Controversy
Solidarity rally and march for Michael Brown in response to the Furguson grand jury decision Fibonacci Blue CC BY 2.0

Following the president of the University of Missouri system stepping down from his post Monday, the chancellor of the university also declared that he will be resigning.


Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said that he will move to a new role advancing research, starting January 1. Jonathan Butler’s decision to end his hunger strike – which called for the resignation of the university system president, Tim Wolfe – earlier in the day was praised by Loftin.

“I want to acknowledge [Butler’s] extraordinary courage and leadership,” Loftin said. “A very tough, tough young man, a very focused young man, a very intelligent and forward-looking young man, so we owe him a lot.”

University of Missouri protests

The outrage at the university sparked September 12 after Payton Head, president of the Missouri Students Association, posted on Facebook that he had been made a victim of racial abusing on several occasions by an individual driving in a pickup truck. The lack of any definitive action from the authorities triggered protests at the school’s homecoming parade in the subsequent month. In the same month, Resident Halls Association reported that a swastika drawn in human feces was discovered in a university dorm building.

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This weekend, the university’s black football players said they will neither participate in any meetings nor play in any games until the president resigned. As reported by Reuters, the demonstrations have been led by a group called Concerned Student 1950 – named after the year when the first black student was admitted in the school – who claim that black students in the campus have been subjected to racism and that favouritism towards white students exists in many aspects of school life.

On Monday, the group called for a meeting with the university’s faculty council, Board of Curators and the governor of Missouri. Marshall Allen, one of the members of the group, addressed a crowd of more than 500 people on campus, saying, “While today may seem bright to some, this is just a beginning in dismantling systems of oppression in higher education, specifically the UM system.”

Racial tensions in Missouri instigated last year after an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. No charges were brought against the officer.

Wolfe’s resignation came Monday. He said that he took “full responsibility for this frustration” and “for the inaction that has occurred.” He further added, “My decision to resign comes out of love, not hate. Please, please use this resignation to heal, not to hate.”

To Butler, Wolfe’s resignation was “just wow.” He said that his stand was not only against racism, but also against issues like sexism and homophobia. “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,” he said, CNN reports. “I wish you guys could be on campus to see the love that is permeating among the students, staff and faculty.”

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