After weeks of escalating student protests and the threat of a football team boycott, the president of the University of Missouri system resigned Monday, forced out amid complaints that he had done too little to address racism and other ugly incidents on campus.
Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin — who oversees the university’s main campus in Columbia, Mo. — also will step down, the university system’s governing body, the Board of Curators, announced Monday evening. Loftin plans to leave his position at the end of the year and move to a new role within the university as director for research facility development.
The unseating of two of the university’s top leaders was a swift victory for student activists, who had been railing against what they see as a divisive racial climate on the midwestern campus. They have accused Missouri’s president, Tim Wolfe, of not addressing racist and bigoted incidents this academic year, including when the undergraduate student body president was called the n-word, when a white student climbed onto a stage and shouted slurs as a black group rehearsed a skit, and more recently when a swastika was drawn on a wall with human feces.
After months of protests and no-confidence votes by students and faculty this fall, Ithaca College’s president announced Thursday that he would step down in July 2017.
Student protesters, angered by what they felt was an insufficient response to racist incidents on campus, have been calling for Tom Rochon’s resignation with “die-ins” and other events, mirroring demonstrations over race and bias incidents on many campuses across the country in recent months. From Yale to Claremont McKenna to Princeton to Towson, students marched, occupied administration offices, and presented lists of demands.
At the University of Missouri, the system president and the university chancellor resigned after protests all but paralyzed the public university’s campus, and students at many universities began or amplified their efforts to make changes. The day after that resignation, Rochon, Ithaca’s president, announced he was creating a chief diversity officer position, but hundreds of students gathered, shouting “no confidence!”