Criticism over what are being called missed opportunities for University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe to address racism on campus has led to a bipartisan call from state lawmakers for him to step down.
“It has been increasingly clear in recent days that UM President Tim Wolfe is not the person to tackle the university’s racial problems and build a future for the institution that all Missourians can be proud of,” writes Gail McCann Beatty, Assistant House Minority Leader and a Kansas City Democrat.
“For the good of the UM System, President Wolfe needs to step down without delay, and the Board of Curators must immediately address the demands of minority students.”
Beatty, in her statement, cites what she calls “deep roots” of racism at the University of Missouri, noting it, “was built by slave labor, barred black students from admission until 1950 and hasn’t always proven welcoming to minority students since that time. Although history is immutable, a better future can be shaped if we are willing to take the difficult steps necessary to make it so.”
The Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, Steve Cookson (R-Butler County), is also calling for Wolfe to resign. He is critical of a series of events since April 8.
Cookson writes, “The system has made national headlines for failing to protect the safety of female students on campus, the St. Louis campus purchasing a golf course weeks before announcing budget cuts, a failed attempt to build a third hospital in Columbia in the face of massive local opposition, a bungled handling of encouraging professors to run for state office, a now cancelled agreement with Planned Parenthood to facilitate abortions, the president of the system’s callous reaction to racial sensitivity issues which he has now apologized for, a highly embarrassing failed attempted firing of the Columbia campus chancellor, and now the events of this weekend.
“After all of this, it has become clear, that Mr. Wolfe can no longer effectively lead the University of Missouri System,” said Cookson. “He should show leadership in his final official act and step aside, failing that the University of Missouri system Board of Curators should remove him. Without this common sense approach it will be incumbent for the Governor and the General Assembly to come up with a plan to right the ship at this extremely important public asset.”