Loftin announces resignation effective Jan. 1

Loftin’s announcement comes hours after former UM System President Tim Wolfe’s resignation.
Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announces his resignation during a UM System Board of Curators meeting Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the Old Alumni Center in Columbia, Mo.

Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced his resignation, effective Jan. 1, at a meeting with the UM System Board of Curators on Monday, Nov. 9.

Loftin will be the director for research facility development. He said he will work with different areas of the university to advance research and “assist the campus community.”

“It has been my pleasure to serve as chancellor of this great institution,” Loftin said in a statement. “I hope that every member of our campus community will embrace each person’s right to express their opinions in a respectful manner and to make progress toward our common goal of an inclusive campus that values the contributions of all individuals.”

Earlier Monday, nine deans called for Loftin's resignation in an open letter to the curators, according to Columbia Tribune reporting.

UM System President Tim Wolfe resigned Monday morning after mounting pressure from students, faculty members and campus organizations.

Graduate student Jonathan Butler, one of the founding members of the social justice group Concerned Student 1950, began a week-long hunger strike Nov. 2 seeking Wolfe’s resignation.

Social justice groups such as Racism Lives Here and the Student Coalition for Critical Action have staged several protests directed toward administration since the beginning of the semester. On-campus activism touched officials from UM System on Oct. 11. Concerned Student 1950, a student advocacy movement, when the group held a protest during the homecoming parade, blocking Tim Wolfe’s car.

Loftin became MU’s chancellor Feb. 1, 2014, after Brady Deaton stepped down from the position in November 2013. His tenure began with a series of controversies from which he never truly recovered.

At the time, Loftin said he expected to enjoy a lengthy tenure.

“I wouldn’t have even dreamed of coming here without a long-term commitment,” he said.

Loftin’s time as chancellor

Just three weeks into Loftin’s time as chancellor, an upper balcony collapsed at the MU-owned University Village apartments, causing the building to be evacuated. One Columbia firefighter, Lt. Bruce Britt, died responding to the incident. The complex was demolished in July 2014.

After a report in April 2014 found that MU failed to properly handle former swimmer Sasha Menu Courey’s sexual assault case, Loftin pledged to improve MU’s sexual assault procedures. Menu Courey committed suicide in June 2011, 15 months after the assault was reported. Loftin later created a full-time Title IX coordinator position, which was filled by Ellen Eardley in April 2015.

Racial tensions on campus have escalated since the killing of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014. Several protests from student group MU4MikeBrown and others focused on racism on campus. At race relations forums held on campus, Loftin and other administrators were called out for their lack of action.

Graduate students protested in August 2015 after MU announced that they would lose their university-sponsored healthcare. In a Faculty Council meeting the following week, Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies Leona Rubin revealed that administrators hadn’t reviewed graduate satisfaction data in 12 years.

Loftin was criticized for his slow response to Missouri Students Association President Payton Head’s Facebook post Sept. 11 detailing an instance of racism on campus. He released a statement Sept. 17 condemning discrimination on campus.

A few weeks later, members of the Legion of Black Collegians’ Homecoming royalty court were harassed on Traditions Plaza while rehearsing a skit Oct. 5. Loftin responded the next day with a statement and video. On Oct. 8, he announced the development of a mandatory campus-wide diversity and inclusion training for incoming students.

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