How Football and a Hunger Strike Forced the University of Missouri President to Resign
University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe announced Monday morning he would step down, bowing to demands from students angry about his response to racist incidents on campus this fall. Here's a brief account of what happened at the University of Missouri and why it's become a national story. Full story: http://bit.ly/1HrxwYU
- •In September, a group of men in a pickup truck yelled a racial slur at the student body president, Payton Head, who is black, while he was walking down a local street. The next morning Head wrote a Facebook post about the experience, and about other ways discrimination is still present at the university.
- •On October 5, a man allegedly yelled racial slurs at the Legion of Black Collegians, a student group, while they were rehearsing a homecoming performance. The university's chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, the head of the main Columbia campus, issued an angry response: "Let's end hatred and racism at Mizzou," he said. "We're part of the same family."He also announced the entire university would be required to take online diversity training.
- •Unsatisfied, a group of black student leaders decided to confront Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri's system of four campuses, during the homecoming parade in Columbia.After the parade, the students released a list of demands, including that the university develop a curriculum of racial awareness and inclusion and that Wolfe send them a handwritten apology, "acknowledge his white male privilege," and "recognize that systems of oppression exist."
- •Wolfe met with protestors on October 27 but didn't satisfy their demands. On October 24, a swastika made from human feces was smeared on the wall of a communal bathroom in a new dorm, seen as a symbol of ongoing discrimination at the university.Students also reported racist posts on Yik Yak, the anonymous message-sharing app, pertaining to the racial disturbances.
- •On November 2, Butler began a hunger strike, saying he would continue it until Wolfe is removed from office. The football players went on strike in support of Butler. Wolfe's announcement came on the heels of the declaration Saturday night from 32 black football players, backed by their coaches and team.
- •In an emotional statement Monday, Wolfe said he hoped his resignation would help the university to heal. "We forced individuals like Jonathan Butler to take immediate action and unusual steps to effect change," he said. "This is not, I repeat, not, the way change should come about."