Wolfe issues apology to Concerned Student 1950
The statement comes on day five of graduate student Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike.
Nov. 06, 2015
UM System President Tim Wolfe issued an apology to Concerned Student 1950 on Friday for his reaction to their demonstration during the Oct. 10 Homecoming parade.
In a video of the incident, Wolfe could be seen sitting idly in his car as demonstrators blocked the road and spoke to parade spectators. The 10-minute demonstration was nearing its conclusion when the car carrying Wolfe bumped a demonstrator. Nobody was injured, but Columbia police officers moved in and used force to remove the students from the road.
“I am sorry, and my apology is long overdue,” Wolfe said in the statement. “My behavior seemed like I did not care. That was not my intention. I was caught off guard in that moment.”
Wolfe’s apology comes on day five of graduate student Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike. Butler is holding his hunger strike because of a “slew of racist, sexist, homophobic etc. incidents,” according to a letter published by Butler this past Monday. He said he will continue to strike until Wolfe is removed from office.
An apology from Wolfe was one of the eight demands Concerned Student 1950 issued Oct. 23.
Wolfe said he met with Butler and is concerned about his health.
Butler had been an active member of social justice movements on campus prior to his hunger strike as well. Along with his involvement in Concerned Student 1950, he has participated in several Racism Lives Here and MU Graduate Rights demonstrations.
“(Butler’s) voice for social justice is important and powerful,” Wolfe said. “He is being heard and I am listening. I am thankful for the leadership provided by him and the other student leaders in raising awareness of racism, injustice, and intolerance.”
Wolfe said he acknowledges the presence of racism at MU and that it is a “long-standing, systemic problem which daily affects our family of students, faculty and staff.”
“I am sorry this is the case,” Wolfe said. “I truly want all members of our university community to feel included, valued and safe.”