November 12, 2015 

By Amanda Scurlock 

Sports Writer

 

The president of the University of Missouri resigned Monday as students and faculty scrutinized and protested against his method of addressing racial tensions on campus.

 

University of Missouri Chan­cellor R. Bowen Loftin said he would also resign at the end of the year amidst the racial controversy. Protesting reached a climax when around 30 Black football players announced their refusal to participate in team-related activities until President Tim Wolfe stepped down, according to CNN.

 

The Tigers’ next game will take place in Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Cancellation of the game could cost the university over $1 million, Huffington Post reports.

 

“The athletes of color at the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’’ the football players said in a statement. “We will no longer participate in any football related activities until president Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experience. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!”  

 

Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel and athletic director Mack Rhoades released a statement announcing that practice and other team activities were cancelled on Sunday, Huffington Post reports.

 

Pinkel was in solidarity with the players by stating on Twitter: “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players,” and posting a photo of the team and coaches locking arms.

 

Black graduate student Johnathan Butler also went on a hunger strike on Nov. 2, saying that he’s protesting “a slew of racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., incidents that have dynamically disrupted the learning experience” at Missouri, according to the Columbia Missourian. Butler vowed not to eat until the president was gone. After Wolfe announced his resignation, Butler tweeted that his strike has ended, Associated Press reports.

 

Former Missouri linebacker Michael Sam said that he brought water to Butler on Nov. 4 and remarked on the spike of attention the school has received in short notice, ESPN reports.

 

“Things change when sports gets involved,” Sam said.

 

Black student groups have complained about injustices, including racial slurs, being committed at the predominantly white university, according to CNN. The Concerned Student 1950 protest organization, who represented every Black student since the first one was admitted in 1950, created a list of demands on Oct. 20. One of the demands was the resignation of President Wolfe, according to ABC News.

 

Other demands consisted of an increase of African-American staff and faculty by the 2017-2018 academic year and a comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum.

 

Protestors blocked Wolfe’s car during the university’s homecoming parade on Oct. 10. Wolfe did not get out of his car or address the group and Police officers removed the protestors, ESPN reports. Wolfe’s car allegedly hit one of the demonstrators, he has apologized for the occurrence, ABC news reports.

 

Racial tensions spiked this fall when the student body president, an African-American male, became vocal about racism on campus. A drunken white student interrupted the event and addressed attendees with a racial slur. Black student groups complained that university police did not aggressively pursue the perpetrator, according to CNN.

 

Recently, a swastika drawn in feces was discovered in a dormitory bathroom, according to Huffington Post. Wolfe was seen as ‘insensitive’ and ‘out of touch’ to the concern of students with racial complaints. The former president took ‘little action and made few public statements’ when faced with racial complaints, AP reports.

 

The Huffington Post reported that Wolfe showed no intention of stepping down, but agreed that “change is needed” in a statement on Sunday. Concerned Student 1950 directed a sit-in on Sunday at a campus plaza where 150 students prayed, read bible verses and sang. Two trucks flying confederate flags drove past the sit-in; many saw that as an intimidation tactic. Several planned to camp out overnight in the plaza, according to ESPN.

 

Two graduate student groups called for walkouts on Monday and Tuesday, according to CNN.

 

Players confirmed their next game against Brigham Young University (BYU) will be played as scheduled and they will practice on Tuesday, ESPN reports.

 

Wolfe said the University of Missouri is working to create a plan that promotes tolerance and diversity by April, according to Huffington Post.

Category: News



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