After saying over the weekend that he was staying put, the University of Missouri's president, Tim Wolfe, turned in his resignation Monday morning (Nov. 9) in the wake of months of escalating student protests over his handling of racial incidents on the campus.
"It is clear to all of us that change is needed, and we appreciate the thoughtfulness and passion which have gone into the sharing of concerns," Wolfe said in a statement over the weekend as prominent UM voices joined the chorus urging his resignation, including the school's student government and at least 30 members of its football team, who said they would not play until he was removed.
By Monday morning, just before a meeting with the university's governing body,he changed his tune. "It is my belief we stopped listening to each other," Wolfe said according to the New York Times. "We have to respect each other enough to stop yelling at each other and start listening, and quit intimidating each other ... I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred."
Wolfe hoped that both sides would use his resignation as a way to "heal and start talking again."
How Did Things Get So Bad?
The protests that erupted this weekend were a culmination of a number of issues and incidents that have taken place over the past few months. Among them:
-- In August, the university cuts health care for graduate students, notifying students of the changes just 13 hours before their health care expired.
-- Around 1,000 graduate students walk out on Aug. 27 in protest, demanding a living wage, reinstatement of their health insurance and more affordable university-run student housing.
-- Payton Head, the president of the Missouri Students Association's Facebook post about racial slurs that were yelled at him on campus goes viral. It was the latest of nine hate crimes that had been reported to the MU Police Department from 2012-2015, four of which took place this year.
-- The results of the Campus Climate Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Survey found that "30.8 percent of senior women at MU reported they were victims of nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation either from drugs or alcohol."
-- The first of a series of "Racism Lives Here" rallies takes place on Sept. 24, with more than 100 students gathering to protest the atmosphere on campus and decrying the administration for taking six days to respond to Head's Facebook post.
-- A 1,000-person "Pink-Out Day" rally is held on campus in support of Planned Parenthood on Sept. 29 in light of the administration's decision to discontinue PP's "refer and follow" privileges a week earlier. Those privileges allow doctors who don't often admit patients to maintain their staff privileges, and the revocation was seen by many protesters as an effort to restrict access to safe and legal abortions at a local clinic.
-- Campus police identify the man who disrupted the Oct. 4 Legion of Black Collegians 2015 Homecoming Royalty Court rehearsal shouting racial slurs. Students and professors staged an anti-racism rally at Jesse Hall on Oct. 6.
-- On Oct. 8, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announces the development of diversity and inclusion training for students and faculty starting in January 2016.
-- A group called the Concerned Student 1950 issues a list of demands on Oct. 20 calling for Wolfe's ouster and the hiring of more professionals of color and diversity at the university and the creation of a "comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum" across campus.
-- A swastika drawn with feces is found in one of the school's buildings on Oct. 24.
-- On Nov. 2, graduate student Jonathan Butler begins a hungers strike in response to Wolfe's lack of action about the racist incidents on campus. Hundreds of students stage a walk-out on Nov. 5 in support of Butler's hunger strike.
On Monday morning, hundreds of students gathered to celebrate Wolfe's resignation: