November 10, 2015; USA Today
The tide of events at the University of Missouri quickly became too much for the university system’s Board of Curators, and the university president Timothy Wolfe. Yesterday morning, Wolfe took responsibility for the racial protests at the university and resigned effective immediately, a sharp contrast to his position from only days earlier where he had rejected calls for his leaving and had promised reforms that would take as long as several months to be realized.
Events that transpired between Sunday evening and Monday morning built to the point where Wolfe and the Curators had to give in, including an announcement from some part of the faculty that they too would join the students in demanding Wolfe’s ouster. Like the coach of the University of Missouri football team who stood by his players, potentially jeopardizing his salary for all the public might have known, the faculty saw their primary allegiance and obligations to the young people whose futures they were entrusted with guiding and cultivating.
Wolfe’s resignation is by no means the end of this situation. Much more is going to have to happen to address the rapid crescendo of events that emerged in Columbia, Missouri over the past couple of weeks. But lessons can be drawn nonetheless:
- Multi-racial mobilization: Much of the press coverage focused on black students and black football players, but much more was going on here. People of all races on the Missouri campus felt the impact of the racism that emerged. For the press, for the Curators, and for the unrepentant racists who scrawl racial insults on dorm walls, it does not work to dismiss protests like Missouri’s as simply the actions of a minority of students. In the wake o