Mizzou in Review: Top five WTF moments
From a fired professor to a leaked confidential letter, MU ended up in some bizarre situations this year.
May. 03, 2016
This school year has been full of resignations, protests and other general administrative chaos. Stepping back and thinking about all that’s happened, there were some moments that just made us ask, “WTF, Mizzou”?
A historic fall semester hit its peak Nov. 9, when UM System President Tim Wolfe resigned following race-based student protests. But one national headline apparently wasn’t enough for the day, because less than six hours later, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin also stepped down. Loftin later told The Maneater that Wolfe’s resignation was a complete surprise to him, even though the two had previously met to plan Loftin’s “transition.”
Nov. 9 brought more news than just two high-level resignations, as assistant communication professor Melissa Click unintentionally began a national First Amendment debate when videos showed her calling for “muscle” to remove a student journalist from a circle of protesters on Carnahan Quad. The ensuing situation, including Click’s paid suspension, an investigation and firing by the UM System Board of Curators, Click’s appeal of her firing and an AAUP investigation, has been an ongoing mess for all involved.
Graduate student health insurance
The most overshadowed movement of the school year belonged to the graduate student workers, who formed advocacy groups after administrators informed them via email that their health insurance was being cut 13 hours before it expired. After Loftin resigned and interim Chancellor Hank Foley was passed the ball, he too dropped it, calling graduate students “kids” and flatly opposing their vote to unionize.
Just when we thought Wolfe was out of the news, a letter he wrote to UM System donors was made public in January. Wolfe aired all his dirty laundry for this “confidential” letter, managing to throw significant shade at Loftin, the Board of Curators, interim UM System President Mike Middleton, former football coach Gary Pinkel and state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, in a mere four pages.
Curators’ closed meetings, resignations and lack of diversity
The Board of Curators called 2015 the “year of the student” but gave students and the rest of the MU community no transparency in a series of closed meetings throughout the fall (that we now realize were probably regarding Loftin’s looming resignation). Three curators also resigned, leaving a board of five white men and one white woman — all lawyers — to oversee a system in a diversity crisis. Makes sense, right?