In final words to University of Missouri, Wolfe calls for healing, not hatred

Wolfe stepped down following student and faculty protests across Mizzou's campus in response to racist incidents.

Image via AdamProcter / Wikimedia Commons, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

COLUMBIA, MO: Resigning from his post as president of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe did not sidestep blame for the mounting racial strife within the campus community, but indicated this wasn’t the way he wanted to go.

Wolfe stepped down following student and faculty protests across Mizzou’s campus ignited by a "flurry of racist incidents in recent months, culminating with the swastika scrawled in excrement on October 24."

A graduate student at the university, Jonathan Butler, went on a weeklong hunger strike in an effort to "oust Wolfe and bring about change to a school administration that has been unacceptably unresponsive to a series of racist incidents on campus," according to The Washington Post.

"It is my belief we stopped listening to each other," Wolfe said at a Board of Curators meeting on Monday. "We didn’t respond or react, we got frustrated with each other and we forced individuals like Jonathan Butler to take immediate action or unusual steps to affect change."

Over the weekend, Mizzou’s football team announced its own boycott, pledging to stay off the field until the president stepped down and said more action was expected by the campus community this week.

The athletic department tweeted its full support of the players involved. On Monday morning, the Post noted the football team’s boycott came with a potential $1 million price tag for Mizzou, which might have prompted university officials to take action. 

Wolfe said it’s his "full responsibility" for both the "frustration" and "inaction" on campus, after offering what sounded like an alternative solution in his final speech as the university’s leader.

"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" said Wolfe, who also asked the university community to mark the end of his tenure as a time "to heal, not to hate."

In the wake of Wolfe’s resignation, reaction rippled across both Missouri’s campus itself and social media, where many users were following closely.

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