As Pressure to Quit Builds, Mizzou Prez Says 'Change Needed'

School's board schedules special meeting as staff plan walkout
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2015 6:28 AM CST
Updated Nov 9, 2015 6:55 AM CST
As Pressure to Quit Builds, Mizzou Prez Says 'Change Needed'
In this Oct. 1, 2015, photo, grad student Jonathan Butler chants with other students during an anti-racism demonstration at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.   (Daniel Brenner/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP)

Republican state lawmakers have joined students in calling for the University of Missouri's president to step down over the school's handling of racial issues. Rep. Steve Cookson, who chairs the state's House Higher Education Committee, says Tim Wolfe's "callous reaction to racial sensitivity issues" shows he "can no longer effectively lead" and should step down or be fired, per the Missouri Times. Rep. Caleb Jones adds that "the lack of leadership Mizzou has been dealing with for months has finally reached the point of being a national embarrassment," while Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon says the "concerns must be addressed," per NBC News. It's now been a week since a student began a hunger strike demanding Wolfe's removal. In a statement Sunday, however, Wolfe gave no indication that he would leave his post.

"It is clear to all of us that change is needed, and we appreciate the thoughtfulness and passion which have gone into the sharing of concerns," he said, adding the university is working on a "systemwide diversity and inclusion strategy" to be unveiled in April. "In the meantime, I am dedicated to ongoing dialogue to address these very complex, societal issues as they affect our campus community." He also apologized to members of a campus group who tried to speak to him about "Mizzou's history of racial violence and exclusivity" at a homecoming event last month. Wolfe says his car drove away, which made it seem "like I did not care." The university's Board of Curators has scheduled a special meeting for 10am Monday—the same day faculty and staff plan to walk out in solidarity with students, per ABC News. (More University of Missouri stories.)

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