Missouri lawmakers react to Wolfe’s, Loftin’s resignation

Following the resignations of former UM System President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, several Missouri lawmakers issued statements of support.

This story has been updated to include statements about Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin’s resignation.

Shortly after former UM System President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation Monday morning, several Missouri lawmakers issued statements in response.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon

“Tim Wolfe's resignation was a necessary step toward healing and reconciliation on the University of Missouri campus, and I appreciate his decision to do so,” Nixon said in a statement. “There is more work to do, and now the University of Missouri must move forward — united by a commitment to excellence, and respect and tolerance for all. The University of Missouri is an outstanding institution that will continue to play a vital role in our efforts to provide a world-class education to every Missouri student.”

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander

“University of Missouri students clearly lost faith in the administration's ability to make meaningful change in race relations on campus, and their voices were obviously heard loud and clear,” Kander said in a statement. “I hope the Concerned Student 1950 movement is a starting point for an important dialogue that is long overdue at Mizzou and across the state, and that student concerns are no longer ignored by the university. While it will take time to replace President Wolfe, the university cannot wait to take action to ensure black students have the same opportunities to succeed as white students. The new leadership of the university should immediately begin having conversations with students, faculty and staff to reach an understanding on the concrete steps that need to be taken in the next couple of months to rectify this troubling situation now - not sometime in the future.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo

“This was the right decision to help the university turn the page, and for its leaders to recommit to ending racism on campus,” McCaskill said in a statement on Monday. “Tim Wolfe loves the University of Missouri, and his action today was a reflection of that. I’m confident that my alma mater will work to create a stronger community of acceptance and equality.”

McCaskill had issued a statement early Sunday encouraging the Board of Curators to “send a clear message to the students at Mizzou that there is an unqualified commitment to address racism on campus.”

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo

MU graduate and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo

Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, and Stephen Webber, D-Columbia

Kendrick is a current graduate student at MU, pursuing a degree in higher education administration. Webber graduated from MU’s School of Law in 2013.

State Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, Missouri Black Legislative Caucus chairman

“The Missouri Legislative Black Caucus stands in solidarity with University of Missouri students in demanding long overdue action to address racial bias on campus, and we are disheartened that administrators were slow in treating this issue with the seriousness it deserves,” Ellington said in a statement. “The resignation of University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe demonstrates that leaders who ignore injustice or cling to the status quo do so at their own peril. We can no longer allow institutionalized racism to endure anywhere in Missouri. It is the solemn duty of everyone in a position of authority to identify and eradicate racial injustice.”

State Rep. Steve Cookson, R-Poplar Bluff

“During this tumultuous time at the University of Missouri it would serve us well to keep in mind that universities and all other institutions of education are created to serve the best interests of their students, and not administrators, curators, legislators, and faculty,” Cookson said. “The safety and well-being of our students must be the top priority for all administrators, faculty, and professional adults. Everyone involved in this turmoil, both students and adults, are personally responsible for their own actions or inactions. To quote a famous Missouri leader, President Harry S. Truman, ‘the buck stops here.’”

Cookson is the chairman of the Higher Education Committee in the Missouri House of Representatives, and called for Wolfe’s removal in a statement on Sunday morning, saying, “it has become clear that the MU system leadership can no longer effectively lead and should step aside.”

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