University of Missouri-Columbia President, Tim Wolfe, has officially announced his resignation after a week long racial protest took place on his campus.
Exactly one week ago, Jonathan L. Butler, a graduate student attending the University of Missouri-Columbia, went on a hunger strike in protest of Wolfe. His words were, “I will be embarking on an indefinite hunger strike in opposition to having Tim Wolfe as the University of Missouri system president. I will not consume any food or nutritional sustenance at the expense of my health until either Tim Wolfe is removed from office or my internal organs fail and my life is lost.”
According to Butler, he along with many other black students have expressed numerous concerns for a few years about the racial injustices happening on campus but he claims Wolfe ignored their demands basically starting the students’ hunger strike.
At UMC’s 104th Homecoming celebration, the students formed a line in front of Wolfe’s car during the parade and locked arms in solidarity with one another. Butler explained that not even two minutes into the demonstration, “the crowd had already begun showing their dissatisfaction with the inconvenience of consciousness.” They began to cheer “M-I-Z-Z-O-U” only adding fuel to the racial fire.
Butler said, “This is a chant, so many students, alumni, and fans identify with and used to show solidarity with in the community, was used to drown out the hard historical facts of how we, as black students, have always been excluded with him his space we have also thrived and contributed to greatly. It showed, even in 2015, many people do not consider as a part of the community and that hurt us the most.”
As the demonstration continued, Wolfe’s driver attempted to get away from the angry students but ended up hitting some of them..one student was hit twice! Eventually, cops were called and the students were being threatened with pepper spray, some of the females were shoved to the ground and males were threatened with harsher punishment.
Butler says the violent restraints showed that the protest was necessary,
“Because of privilege, countless people care only when it is a convenience to them; Justice is not convenient; It is a privilege to not have to think about being excepted and spaces for parts of your identity you better socially ostracized and depressed; It is a privilege to have the option to stay silent about issues that do not directly affect you; It is a privilege to have your discomfort revered more than people’s pain and silenced frustrations. It was necessary for us to be visible in a space we so often have been excluded from but more than necessary to raise community consciousness even though that came at the cost of being signed, hit by a car, silenced and ostracized.”
Yesterday, the Black faculty, staff and Black Studies affiliates released a statement in support of Mizzou students.
“We, the Black faculty and staff as well as Black Studies affiliates would like to express deep and sincere support for our students who are engaged in bringing awareness to institutionalized racism and it’s intersected forms of oppression at the University of Missouri. We are gravely concerned with our students’ ability to succeed and thrive at this institution. As faculty and staff, we applaud our students’ resilience as they work to challenge this oppressive environment. We appreciate the students bravery and dedication, and anticipate that the administration, including the Board of Curators, will take immediate steps to address their concerns.”
Fortunately as of this morning, the hunger strike is over! Butler announced it on his Facebook page after encouraging supporters to sign a petition to have Tim Wolfe removed and 7,000 signatures later…Wolfe had officially stepped down!
Check out his official resignation below!
TSR Intern: Talia O. @theclosetratchet on Instagram & @tallyohhh on Twitter!
Source Cited: http://www.carbonated.tv/news/this-is-why-a-black-graduate-student-hasnt-eaten-in-four-days, https://www.change.org/p/university-of-missouri-system-board-of-curators-president-tim-wolfe-govenor-of-missouri-jay-nixon-jeremiah-nixon-removal-of-the-university-of-missouri-system-president-tim-wolfe-from-office?recruiter=418327478&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink