Loftin responds to student’s hunger strike

“Racism shapes the current climate for and educational experience of all of our students,” he said in a statement.

Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin expressed his support for graduate student Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike against UM System President Tim Wolfe in a statement Wednesday morning. Butler said Monday in a Facebook post that he will continue the strike until his internal organs fail or Wolfe is removed from office.

“Mr. Butler is a person of principle who is dedicated to raising awareness of and finding solutions for the pernicious problems of racism, discrimination and bias,” Loftin said in the statement. “While I cannot encourage him to put his health at risk, I support his right to peaceful protest and his efforts to raise awareness of the injustice that he and other people of color face in their everyday lives and at the university.”

Loftin said some of the demands of the group Concerned Student 1950 cannot be met by MU leadership, but he encouraged students to work together to “challenge intolerance and hate.”

“Every member of my administration stands ready to work with all students, faculty and staff to define, attain and embrace a future that values each human being and enables them, through discovery, excellence, respect and responsibility, to achieve their dreams,” he said in the statement.

He acknowledged the roots of racism at MU and the importance of working to improve campus culture.

“Racism shapes the current climate for and educational experience of all of our students,” Loftin said. “We must create a better future.”

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