Students react to Wolfe’s resignation
Some students admitted they were not aware of resignation or had not been keeping up with everything that was going on.
Nov. 10, 2015
Emad Alsamadi was walking in Memorial Union when he noticed the KOMU livestream on TV announcing that UM System President Tim Wolfe had resigned.
Although more than 500 students went to the campsite at Carnahan Quad after Wolfe announced his resignation, other students continued as they normally would have but supported Wolfe’s decision to step down.
“I am actually very impressed with the fact that he spoke to the student’s request and actually went out there, spoke, resigned and took full responsibility,” Alsamadi said. “I feel that he deserves some sort of credit for taking his own responsibility.”
Some students expressed their support for Wolfe’s decision.
“I think it was long overdue, considering everything that has been happening,” senior Eric Bryda said. “I’m glad that it happened. I’m glad that Jonathan (Butler) can finally eat again. (Wolfe) made the right decision to step down, all things considered. It’s his best move, and I think it’s in the best interest of the university.”
First-year graduate student Anna Provo said though she was shocked to learn of Wolfe’s resignation, the “prospect of change” is exciting and frightening.
“Well, that’s scary, because now we’re left without a president, and it’s not going to solve everything,” Provo said. “It’s a step in a direction, but who’s to say that what’s next isn’t worse? So it’s scary. Change is always scary. It’s not always bad, just different.”
Sophomore Ari Wilson said she had mixed feelings on Wolfe’s resignation. She said she had some hesitation because she is unsure as to what is next and how they are going “to build” the UM president role. She said she hopes to see things continue to evolve on campus.
“Even if it is not a huge change, hopefully we will start seeing little changes that can be done,” Wilson said. “What is happening now, I do not think we will see big changes happen until much later in the future. The people who were out there were pretty selfless, just in terms of a lot of what they did today will have an impact on people after they graduate, so they may not even be here to get to feel the change that has happened.”
However, some students completely disagreed with Wolfe’s decision to resign. Junior Christina Moser said she does not agree with his resignation and found it embarrassing.
“I think this whole racism thing has been blown out of proportion,” Moser said. “I feel like minorities can be racist against white people too. It goes both ways.”
Freshman Rachel Choma said she thought his resignation was ridiculous because she said blame cannot be placed on one person for issues that involve an entire university.
“I think that it’s dangerous that students can get together and blow something out of proportion and actually get what they want,” Choma said. “That sets a precedent for the future, for other groups of students wanting change or reform that maybe is on their agenda and not the greater good.”
In a Facebook post with over 2,000 shares, senior Jessie Sharon expressed her discontent with the way the situation was handled:
“Today I learned that my university is run by its football team,” she wrote in her post. “Today I learned that the media cares more about creating a story than uncovering the truth. Today I learned that the right of a small group to protest is more important than the entire student body's right to the education they pay for. Today I learned that one man is responsible for the heinous actions of a few campus racists. Today I learned that not supporting one group protesting racism makes you a racist, even though you support the fight against racism — just not that specific group. Today I am not proud to be a tiger.”
Some students admitted they were not aware of the resignation or had not been keeping up with everything that was going on.
“To be honest, I did not know about it because I had class all morning, so I’m just hearing about it now,” sophomore Diana Harmata said. “I’ll just be interested to see what happens next and if we’re able to see the changes that a lot of university students have hoped for. I’m not really sure what my predictions are about it, but we’ll see.”
Some students expressed that the administration acted inadequately this past week. Junior Reece Hartsfield said Wolfe showed he was not listening when addressing the hunger strike through his response.
“He kept repeating himself, which is obviously a sign you are not listening, and not until he heard that the football team was going on strike did he actually make a move,” Hartsfield said. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction but we are far from where we need to be.”
Some students said they think his resignation will bring about changes all over campus from diversity to student involvement.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of change,” Bryda said. “This really sparked a lot for the university in terms of getting over racism and inspiring a movement where students can be more tolerant of each other, and faculty and administration are absolutely included in that. I hope that things will change. I hope that things will get better. I believe that they will.”
Lauren Wortman, Allyson Vasilopulos and Tess Vrbin contributed to this report.