Wolfe announces resignation as UM System president

After pressure from Concerned Student 1950, Wolfe announced his resignation Monday morning.
Former UM System President Tim Wolfe immediately after resigning Nov. 9 at the Old Alumni Center in Columbia, Mo.

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation today amid growing racial tensions on MU’s campus.

The announcement was made at 10 a.m. during a UM Board of Curators meeting.

In his statement, Wolfe addressed the frustration of students and members of the MU community. He also acknowledged that a lack of communication “forced individuals like Jonathan Butler to take…unusual steps to affect change.”

“To our students, from Concerned Student 1950, grad students, football players and other students, the frustration and anger that I see is clear, real, and I don’t doubt it for a second,” Wolfe said.

A series of controversial events have caused growing tensions on campus this semester.

On Monday, Nov. 2, graduate student Jonathan Butler began a hunger strike with the goal of Wolfe’s removal. Wolfe announced his resignation on the eighth day of Butler’s strike, just over a week after it began.

Members of the Missouri football team announced a boycott of all football-related activities Saturday night until Butler began eating.

The Missouri Students Association tweeted a series of statements following Wolfe’s resignation.

Wolfe had been the system president since 2012. He grew up in Columbia, graduating from Rock Bridge High School and from MU with a bachelor’s degree from the Trulaske College of Business in 1980.

His father worked at MU as a communications professor in the College of Arts and Science from 1967 to 1997.

Wolfe’s father taught communications at MU’s College of Arts and Sciences, and his mother now teaches law at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover after earning four degrees at MU.

The Board of Curators announced on Dec. 13, 2011, that the year-long search for a new curator had concluded with the hiring of Wolfe.

“Serving this great university and our state is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and I commit my full attention and energy to this endeavor,” Wolfe said in a 2011 Maneater article. “It is obvious to me, and it will be one of our goals to make it obvious to our fellow Missourians, that the University of Missouri System is the greatest asset in this state.”

Previously, Wolfe served as an executive for IBM for 20 years and then became the executive vice president of Covansys in 2000. He then served as President of the Americas at Novell in 2003-2007.

“I am very much looking forward to talking to students and trying to understand how we’re doing in delivering a quality education to each and every student on the campuses we serve,” Wolfe said in the 2011 article.

In an Aug. 20, 2014 Maneater article, the Board of Curators announced that it had extended Wolfe’s contract through June 30, 2018. It was previously scheduled to expire on February 15, 2015.

In the article, former board chairman Don Downing said that enrollment and donations have “substantially increased under Wolfe’s watch.”

Toward the end of his announcement on Monday, Wolfe choked on his words with tears in his eyes.

“My decision to resign comes out of love, not hate,” Wolfe said. “...Use my resignation to heal and start talking again, to make the changes necessary.”

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