The University of Missouri’s Chancellor will change positions, the University announced just hours after its president announced his resignation.
R. Bowen Loftin will next year become director for research facility development. The announcement came hours after System President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation amid growing criticism and protests over the handling of incidents of racism on the Columbia campus.
Loftin had been the subject of criticism including from abortion rights supporters, who blamed him for the end of provider privileges at the University of Missouri Health System that had allowed a St. Louis doctor to perform drug-induced abortions at the Columbia Planned Parenthood facility.
The Chair of the University’s Board of Curators, Donald Cupps, apologized on behalf of the university for “being slow to respond to experiences that are unacceptable and offensive in our campus communities and in our society.”
The Board announced a series of initiatives to be implemented in the next 90 days aimed at addressing the racial climate on campus.
Those include: creation of a Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer for the UM System and accountability and metrics for the position; a full review of all UM system policies as they relate to staff and student conduct; the providing of additional support for students, faculty, and staff who have experienced discrimination and disparate treatment; and the providing of additional support for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff.
The board also announced a plan, “to ensure effective next steps through an open communication process that invites perspective from across the system.”
The steps in that plan are to: create a diversity, inclusion and equity task force to develop short- and long-term strategies, plans, and metrics for the UM System after an assessment of current programs; establish campus-based task forces to develop diversity, inclusion, and equity strategies, plans, and metrics; ensure that each UM System Campus has a Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer reporting to the chancellor; and launch a diversity, inclusion, and equity leadership training and development education program including the board of curators, president, and administrative leadership, followed by broader faculty and staff training.