Tim Wolfe, the President of the University of Missouri system, has resigned amid increasing protests by African-American students, faculty threatening to walk out, and a strike by football players who claim he has not done enough to handle the issue of racism on campus.
During the announcement, which was made during a special Board of Curators meeting Monday morning, Wolfe said his resignation would be effective immediately.
“I am resigning as president of the University Missouri system,” said Wolfe. “My motivation in making this decision comes from a love of Columbia where I grew up and the state of Missouri. I thought and prayed over this decision. It is the right thing to do … The frustration and anger I see is real and I don’t doubt it for a second.”
The issues were brought up over the weekend when 30 black football players refused to play until Wolfe had either been removed from office or volunteered to step down. If the next game, currently scheduled for Saturday against Brigham Young University at Arrowhead Stadium, is canceled, it would cost the school over $1 million.
After hearing of Wolfe’s departure, the athletic department announced that the football team would be returning to the practice field in order to prepare for their game on Saturday, reports Rose Schmidt for USA Today.
Black student groups have been discussing the issues of racism on the predominantly white campus for months now, beginning in September when the student government president, who is black, said that racial slurs had been shouted at him by passers in a pickup truck.
The discussion was renewed again in October when members of a black student organization said a possibly drunk white student had shouted racial slurs at them. A swastika written in feces had also been found in a dormitory bathroom, reports Eyder Peralta for NPR.
Concerned Student 1950, named for the first year a black student was accepted at the school, have led most of the protests. Most recently the group crowded around Wolfe’s car at the parade, and have been conducting a sit-in on a campus plaza since last Monday. At least 150 students met at the plaza Sunday night to pray and read Bible verses, with many planning to spend the night there.
The Missouri Students Association has also joined in the protest, issuing a letter that said Wolfe was in charge of a university leadership that “has undeniably failed us and the students that we represent.” The group went on to write that Wolfe had allowed racism to take place on campus since he took office in 2012, but that he had continued to ignore it.
Concerned Student 1950 requested that Wolfe “acknowledge his white male privilege,” be immediately removed from office, and that the school implement a racial-awareness program that all students would be required to participate in, in addition to hiring more black staff members.
The board voted to accept his resignation.