K-State students react to Mizzou president resignation

Muenfua Lewis, senior in finance, shares with fellow Black Student Union members positive opinions of the recent reports surrounding University of Missouri during the Our Story Kings and Queens event sponsored by Black Student Union on Nov. 10, 2015 in the Student Union. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation Monday after receiving pressure from various student groups and staff. Groups such as Concerned Student 1950, Missouri Students Association and more than half of the football team said Wolfe turned a blind eye on many of the recent incidents of racial harassment on or around Mizzou’s campus.

“I think (Wolfe) was put in a difficult position because it’s hard to respond to those (racial incidents),” Lauren Whiteside, senior in elementary education, said.

This semester, Mizzou has seen several racial incidents that many feel Wolfe turned a blind eye to. According to the Time article “University of Missouri Faculty Stages Walkout as Racism Protests Widen,” African-American students have been subjected to several racial slurs, including an incident when “intoxicated white students harassed the Legion of Black Collegians with the N-word.” A swastika drawn with human feces was also found on the wall of a residence hall. Several students were outraged about the lack of response from Wolfe.

“There’s not enough being done, so students are raising their voices,” Kofi Anane-Sekyere, senior in construction science engineering, said.

Mizzou graduate student Jonathan Butler received support for his hunger strike, which he would not end until Wolfe was fired or resigned, from Mizzou’s football team and Payton Head, Mizzou student body president, according to the Kansas City Star article from Sunday titled “Racial tension at MU smolders amid calls for ouster of president Tim Wolfe.” Almost half of the football team responded by stating they would not participate in team activities, including playing in the game this Saturday, until Wolfe stepped down or was fired.

“It makes you wonder if (the football team) hadn’t done anything, then would Wolfe have resigned?” Nakia Hope, sophomore in criminology, said.

Hope said she is impressed with the amount of student involvement regarding the racial issue. Though she said it is disappointing to see that it had to come to Wolfe’s resignation, she hopes the new president will be able to solve the problems.

“It’s a step towards something,” Anane-Sekyere said. “Maybe the new guy will make changes.”

Now that Wolfe has resigned, many students, including Hope and Whiteside, said they hope the new president will address these racial issues Mizzou has experienced. However, Anane-Sekyere said if faculty members that supported Wolfe before remain in their current positions, there might not be as much change as some would hope.

“We live in a diverse world,” Anane-Sekyere said. “We should be able to live together. You would think by now people would be able to live together.”

Mizzou released a statement Monday stating that as of Jan. 1, 2016, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin will become the director for university research facility development. Hank Foley, Mizzou’s senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies and current UM System executive vice president for academic affairs, research and economic development, was announced as the interim chancellor for Mizzou’s campus. The interim system president has not been announced yet.

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