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Second Mizzou Leader Steps Down Amid Racism Protests on Campus

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Only hours after University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned, Mizzou Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin also stepped down.

Wolfe announced his resignation Monday morning and by late afternoon, Loftin told the university’s governing body, the Board of Curators, he would leave his post as chancellor at the end of this year.

Before entering an emergency meeting with the Board of Curators, Wolfe gave the following speech:

“I am resigning as president of the University of Missouri system today. My motivation for making this decision comes from love. I love MU, Columbia where I grew up and the state of Missouri.

I’ve thought and prayed about this decision and if it’s the right thing to do. The response to this announcement I’m sure ranges from joy for some, to anger for others and that’s why we’re here today and why this is so important at this time.

To our students, from concerned students 1950 to our grad students, football players and other students. The frustration and anger that I see is clear, real and I don’t doubt it for a second. To the faculty and staff that have expressed their anger and their frustration, it too is real.

To my friends and my supporters that have been so gracious and have sent so many texts and calls of support, I understand that you may be frustrated as well. So the question is, why did we get to this very difficult situation? It is my belief that we stopped listening to each other. We didn’t respond or react we got frustrated with each other and we forced individuals like Jonathan Butler to take immediate action and unusual steps to effect change.

This is not, I repeat not, the way change should come about. Change comes from listening, learning, caring and conversation. And we have to respect each other enough to stop yelling at each other and start listening and quit intimidating each other through either our role or whatever means that we decide to use. Unfortunately this has not happened and that is why I stand before you today and I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred.

I ask everybody from students and faculty and staff to my friends, everybody, use my resignation to heal and start talking again, to make the changes necessary and let’s focus on changing what we can change today and in the future, not what we can’t change which is what happened in the past. I truly love everybody here and this great institution in my decision to resign comes out of love and not out of hate. I’d like to read some scripture that’s given me strength. Hope it provides you with some strength as well as we think about what’s next. I have to also give credit to my daughter for reminding me of the scripture. Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength and ever present in trouble, we need to use my resignation, please, please, use this resignation to heal not to hate and lets move forward together for a brighter tomorrow. God bless all of you, and I thank you for this wonderful opportunity to have led the University of Missouri system, thank you.”

Donald L. Cupps, chairman of Board of Curators said an interim president will be announced later on. Later, at the same meeting, Loftin delivered the following statement:

“It has been my pleasure to serve as chancellor of this great institution. I hope that every member of our campus community will embrace each person’s right to express their opinions in a respectful manner and to make progress toward our common goal of an inclusive campus that values the contributions of all individuals. I am excited for my new challenge to lead the university’s research facility development.”

Hank Foley, Mizzou’s senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies was appointed interim chancellor for the MU campus. Prior to both issuing their resignations on Monday, multiple campus organizations and stakeholders continued their call for dismissal of the chancellor. Earlier in the day, nine Mizzou department deans released a letter calling for him to be dismissed.

Following the resignations, many supporters took to social media to express their joy.

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