Distrust of administrators, protests against chancellor not new to MU
“He is out of touch with the students, faculty and staff,” MSA president-elect Rebecca Lambe said in a November 1991 Maneater article, speaking about former Chancellor Monroe.
Dec. 01, 2015
Of the eight chancellors who have led MU up to this point, three have received student criticism after refusing to respond to controversy on campus. All three chancellors resigned from their positions in the same year as the protests. Loftin’s departure was the only one to come directly after the displays of student dissent.
The other two ex-chancellors, John Schwada and Haskell Monroe, held onto their positions in the face of turmoil. However, 1970, 1991 and 2015 all marked points of distrust in MU administration as documented by The Maneater archives.
On May 8, 1970, students filled Jesse Hall and Francis Quadrangle, originally to protest against the Kent State University shooting and President Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia. Then-Chancellor Schwada became the target of the protest when he refused to give his opinion on the issues. When a KOMU reporter captured video footage of Schwada speaking with the protestors, Schwada ordered KOMU not to air the footage.
His lack of response and attempted censorship of university-owned media lost him the trust of the MU student body. The Missouri Students Association Senate passed a unanimous resolution on May 13, 1970, asking for Schwada to resign. The Maneater, which published the story of the protest on May 12, not only received and printed multiple letters to the editor speaking against Schwada but also wrote two editorials opposing him.
“Students learned the campus administration was dangerously inept in dealing with major student dissent,” the second editorial, published on May 15, said.
The student body expressed the same belief about another chancellor two decades later.
Students filled the Quadrangle again on Nov. 22, 1991, to protest against Monroe, who was believed to have covered up the unprofessional behavior of David McIntire, former vice chancellor of student affairs. McIntire resigned his position due to sexual assault allegations, but returned to MU with a tenured teaching position. His return drew the ire of the students.
Rebecca Lambe, the MSA president-elect at the time, told The Maneater that Monroe was not to be trusted.
“He is out of touch with the students, faculty and staff,” Lambe said in a November 1991 Maneater article.
Nearly a quarter of a century later, after two instances of racism within a month involving Missouri Students Association President Payton Head and the Legion of Black Collegians royalty court, The Maneater published a column titled, “Chancellor Loftin is out of touch on the issue of race relations.”
Loftin’s lack of response to graduate students’ demands and acts of racism on campus put him under fire. Black students arranged a series of “Racism Lives Here” protests against him. When Concerned Student 1950 formed, the protesters’ focus shifted away from Loftin and to now-former UM System President Tim Wolfe, but both resigned Nov. 9. Wolfe’s resignation resulted from the protests, while Loftin’s resulted from a variety of issues.
Students were not the only ones who lacked faith in Loftin. On Nov. 4, the English department unanimously voted no confidence in him. He was not the first chancellor in whom faculty voted as such. According to a 1986 Maneater article, faculty representatives voted no confidence in then-chancellor Barbara Uehling, though the student body never expressed open disapproval of her. A Nov. 20 article by the Chronicle of Higher Education explains that Loftin’s resignation had been brewing since September. The student protests did not help his reputation when he faced dissent from fellow administrators, but they also did not directly cause his resignation.
Students have risen up in protest three times, and when they continued to feel unheard, they called for each chancellor to step down. Although only the most recent situation led to the chancellor’s resignation, student faith in university leadership has not been constant over the years, and administrative silence from decades past parallels that of today.
“This administration continually tries to conceal its stereotypical white male good-ole-boy mentality,” a November 1991 Maneater editorial said.
Jennifer Prohov contributed to this report.