University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe has resigned as school president amid student criticism of his handling with racial issues about race and discrimination.
The resignation will take effect immediately after the announcement came Monday morning at a special meeting of the university system's governing body, the Board of Curators.
"I take full responsibility for the actions that have occurred," Wolfe said. "I have asked everybody to use my resignation to heal. Let's focus in changing what we can change today and in the future, not what we can't change in the past."
The complaints really started to heat up over the weekend when many football players said they would not participate in football activities until Wolfe was removed or until he stepped down.
Besides the football team strike, the protest has really centered around graduate student Jonathan Butler going on a hunger strike. Butler began the strike last Monday and said he would not eat again until “until either Tim Wolfe is removed from office or my internal organs fail and my life is lost.”
“Mr. Butler has made it very clear that there is no other option to end this hunger strike,” student body president Payton Head said Sunday. “Mr. Wolfe needs to resign.”
Racial tensions have been brewing on campus since September, when Head was racially abused while walking which was followed by student protests.
Head football coach Gary Pinkel expressed his support for his team by tweeting out a picture saying "We are united" and used the hashtag #ConcernedStudent1950 which is the protest organization on campus which has supported every black student at the university since 1950.
"Our focus right now is on the health of Jonathan Butler, the concerns of our student-athletes and working with our community to address this serious issue. After meeting with the team this morning, it is clear they do not plan to return to practice until Jonathan resumes eating," athletic director Mack Rhoades and coach Pinkel said in a joint statement Sunday. "We are continuing to have department, campus and student meetings as we work through this issue and will provide further comment [Monday] afternoon."
Also included in the statement, they said the team wouldn't practice Sunday and wouldn't return to practice until Butler ends his hunger strike. Monday is usually an off-day for the football team, and since Wolfe has stepped down, it is expected that the team will return to practice and will play in their game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City when they take on the BYU Cougars.
Back to Wolfe, on Friday, Wolfe admitted to some missteps in his handling of race related issues on campus. Then on Sunday, he said the administration is working to resolve problems on campus. He met with Butler and other student groups on campus on Friday, but ultimately, he decided to step down.
"My motivation in making this decision comes from love," he said. "I love M.U. Columbia, where I grew up, and state of Missouri. I have thought and prayed about this decision. It's the right thing to do."