University president resigns after racial tensions intensify

By Kelly Corbett
Social Media Editor

Racism, protests and resignations have been rattling through the University of Missouri’s campus. Heightened tensions, especially in the last two weeks, have resulted in the resignation of university President Tim Wolfe and media professor Melissa Click, on Monday, Nov. 9, according to CNN.

According to CBS, 79 percent of the student body is white while 8 percent is black. Black student groups, the target of many racial slurs and incidents, complained that Wolfe was unresponsive and had not properly handled this issue.

Student protesters set up tents on the univeristy campus. AP Photo.
Student protesters set up tents on the univeristy campus. AP Photo.

“I felt unsafe since the moment I stepped on this campus,” Jonathan Butler, a black graduate student at the University of Missouri, told CNN.

Butler launched a week-long hunger strike, refusing to eat until Wolfe had resigned from office.

Also in favor of Wolfe’s leave was the school’s football team, where dozens of black football players went on a football-related activity boycotts until Wolfe left, according to CNN.

Click made headlines when, during the height of these racial protests, she was caught on film grabbing senior photojournalism student Tim Tai’s video camera and telling him he had no right to be there. She then asked for “muscle” to have him removed, CNN reported. Her courtesy appointment resignation means she can no longer work with journalism doctoral students in topics that fall into her area of research, according to CNN.

In October 2015, the Concerned Student 1950, an organization said to represent every black student on campus, published a list of demands to Wolfe. One demand in particular urged for the removal of Wolfe. While he continued to exert minimal effort to hinder the racial tensions on campus, the football team’s boycott and Butler’s hunger strike pushed him to finally leave office.

According to CNN, Butler wrote in a letter to initiate the strike that, “In the past 90 days alone, we have seen the MSA (Missouri Students Association) president, Payton Head, being called the n-word on campus, graduate students being robbed of their health insurance, Planned Parenthood services being stripped from campus, Concerned Student 1950 peaceful demonstrators being threatened with pepper spray, and a matter of days ago, a vile and disgusting act of hatred where a MU student drew a swastika in the Gateway residential hall with their own feces,” CNN reported.

Besides asking for Wolfe’s removal on the list of demands, the Concerned Student 1950 asked for more black faculty staff members, more funding for social justice centers on campus and a comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum, according to ABC.

“I truly love everybody here and the great institution, and my decision to resign comes out of love, not hate,” Wolfe said in response to his leave,  ABC reported.