University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe officially resigned from his position with the school on Monday after students, including football players, publicly called for his removal.
The protests picked up steam over the weekend after black student groups had criticized Wofle’s handling of racism on campus. A black graduate student, Jonathan Butler, went on a hunger strike last week to draw awareness to the issues and black football players joined the movement as well.
The Legion of Black Collegians released a statement over the weekend saying that athletes on the Mizzou football team would not participate in “football-related activities” until Wolfe “resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences.” Several Mizzou players retweeted the statement, while others added their own thoughts on social media:
Wolfe had been criticized for months over his response to a series of racially-motivated incidents on the Missouri campus, including the use of racial slurs and a swastika found on campus. A Change.org petition had garnered more than 2,300 signatures calling for Wolfe’s removal before he resigned on Monday.
The Mizzou athletic department released a statement, saying:
We all must come together with leaders from across our campus to tackle these challenging issues and we support our student-athletes right to do so.
On Sunday, Mizzou football coach tweeted a photo of him with students and faculty on campus, including the hashtag #ConcernedStudent1950. The “1950” refers to the year when black students were first allowed at the University of Missouri.
Although there were reports that the football team was split on the decision to stage a practice boycott, the publicity brought to the movement after athletes joined, is undeniable.
Monday is the team’s regular day off, but after Wolfe’s resignation, it’s safe to assume that the Tigers will return to practice on Tuesday. Mizzou plays BYU in Kansas City on Saturday.