Student Goes on Hunger Strike to Fix 'Infected' Campus

U of Missouri student wants president gone over racist, sexist, homophobic incidents
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2015 8:51 AM CST
Student Goes on Hunger Strike to Fix 'Infected' Campus
Supporters raise their fists during a rally Wednesday on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Mo., calling for the resignation of the University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe.   (John Happel/Missourian via AP)

Jonathan Butler isn't planning on eating "until either Tim Wolfe is removed from office or my internal organs fail and my life is lost." Those were the words the graduate student wrote in a letter sent Monday to University of Missouri officials, declaring he's on a hunger strike to get rid of Wolfe, the president of the four-campus university, the Kansas City Star reports. His reasons, noted in the letter posted on Facebook: an unaddressed "slew of racist, sexist, [and] homophobic … incidents" on campus, including a racial slur yelled at the student body president and a swastika made of human feces in a dorm. "Let it be known I have no ill will or thoughts of harm towards Mr. Wolfe," Butler wrote. "But I do have an urgency to make the campus I call home a more safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all identities and backgrounds."

Butler had previously tried to get the administration's attention by organizing protests and using social media, notes the Maneater, the school's weekly student paper. Other beefs in Butler's letter included the recent elimination of health care subsidies for grad students, as well as the college severing ties with a local Planned Parenthood clinic, per the Star. "Mizzou's deteriorating culture is like a gaping and infected wound that can only be cured by scraping out the dead and decaying flesh and starting anew," his letter stated. A university spokesman tells the Star that Wolfe talked to Butler on Thursday and that another meeting with the student has been scheduled, adding: "We all believe we must never cease to move against racism and intolerance." (Chicago parents recently went on a 34-day hunger strike for their kids' education.)

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