University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe has resigned after students said he had failed to prevent a racially charged environment from taking root at the school.
"I take full responsibility for this frustration & for the inaction that occurred," Wolfe said Monday. "Use my resignation to heal."
Later Monday, Missouri chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said he would resign at the end of the year.
The announcements come less than 24 hours after members of the University of Missouri football team threatened to boycott the rest of their season, and several days after student Jonathan Butler announced he had begun a hunger strike that would last until Wolfe stepped down.
Butler Tweeted this upon the news:
Commentators are crediting the football team, especially its African American players, with forcing Wolfe's resignation; the story gained national traction Sunday after Missouri Tigers head football coach Gary Pinkel, the highest-paid public employee in the state of Missouri, expressed solidarity with players, who said they would boycott the rest of the season until Wolfe stepped down.
The other critical moment came Monday, when faculty members walked out in solidarity with Butler.
Wolfe took office in Feb. 2012. As president, he was charged with overseeing the entire University of Missouri school system, the state of Missouri's only public research and doctoral-level institution. In addition to the main campus in Columbia, Mo., there were three satellite campuses in the state and numerous colleges.
Loftin has been at Missouri since 2013. According to the Columbia Missourian, his announcement of mandatory online diversity training for faculty, staff and students was met "with widespread skepticism."
Butler, for instance, said it was “a step in the right direction, but it is not enough.”
Concerned Student 1950, the group that originally sparked the movement drawing attention to alleged racial injustices on campus, tweeted this:
Their other demands include creating a new curriculum focusing on racial awareness and inclusion, increasing the percentage of black faculty and staff members on campus to 10%, and creating a 10-year plan that increases retention rates of "marginalized students."
In a statement, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called Wolfe's resignation "a necessary step toward healing and reconciliation" at the university.
"I appreciate his decision to do so,” Gov. Nixon said. “There is more work to do, and now the University of Missouri must move forward – united by a commitment to excellence, and respect and tolerance for all. The University of Missouri is an outstanding institution that will continue to play a vital role in our efforts to provide a world-class education to every Missouri student.”
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.