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UM System President Tim Wolfe announces resignation ending hunger strike

UM System President Tim Wolfe announced Monday he is resigning.

In his announcement Wolfe said,”Please use this resignation to heal, not to hate.” He said, “I ask everybody to use my resignation to heal and start talking again to make the changes necessary.”

The UM Board of Curators voted to go into an executive session shortly after Wolfe’s announcement Monday morning on University of Missouri campus.

In recent weeks black students have criticized Wolfe for his lack of action in response to racial issues on campus.

His alleged inaction caused one MU graduate student to go on a hunger strike. That student, Jonathan Butler, marked seven full days of not eating at 9 Monday morning. Butler said he would not resume eating until President Wolfe was fired or resigned.

On Monday morning Butler tweeted that the hunger strike was over.

Butler started his strike on Monday, November 2 in opposition to Wolfe’s handling of “a collection of incidents”this year, including alleged racist comments yelled at student body president Payton Head and Wolfe’s handling of student protesters at the Homecoming parade.

The UM Board of Curators said Butler’s dad wanted to address the board Monday morning. Our ABC 17 News crew said Butler’s father arrived at the meeting just after 10:30 Monday.

Students have been camping out in tents on MU campus since Butler started his hunger strike on November 2.

After the announcement Monday, protests in support of the groups movement broke out on campus. Students formed a circle around the camp site and joined arms. Students were also seen marching around campus and chanting.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon responded to Wolfe’s resignation Monday. In a statement Governor Nixon said, “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.”

Governor Nixon said, “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.”

Senator Claire McCaskill also issued a statement around 12:30 Monday. McCaskill said “This was the right decision to help the University turn the page, and for its leaders to recommit to ending racism on campus. 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.”

Black students have said they feel marginalized and are accusing the predominately white Greek life system of racism.

The student group, Concerned Student 1950, has a list of 8 demands.

Those demands include holding a press conference with Wolfe publicly apologizing to the group. They want an apology for Wolfe’s car allegedly bumping into one of their demonstrators during the Homecoming parade. The incident allegedly happened while the protesters blocked cars and floats from moving in the parade.

Concerned Student 1950also wants Wolfe to admit his “white male privilege” and demands that Wolfe resign. After Wolfe resigns, the group demands his replacement must is picked by a group of students with diverse background.

You can read the entire list of demands from the group here. Concerned student 1950 tweeted that it plans to issue a statement on the resignation in a news conference at 1 Monday afternoon at Traditions Plaza on Mu campus.

On Monday morning, some members of MU’s faculty announced they plan to walk out “to show campus leaders that justice at Mizzou cannot wait.”

Members of the group “Concerned Faculty” said they “stand in solidarity with the Mizzou student activists who are advocating for racial justice on our campus.” The group was urging all MU faculty to demonstrate their support by walking out on Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10 along with other allies such as the Forum on Graduate Rights.

The faculty participating met at the Carnahan Quadrangle at 10 Monday morning and said they plan to be present throughout the day to respond to student questions in the form of a teach in. Students were encouraged to check email for information from their professors. ABC 17 News is still working to find out if members still planned to walk out after Wolfe announced his resignation.

Monday’s announcement comes just a day after Wolfe issued a statement saying he would not step down, but was “dedicated to ongoing dialogue to address these very complex, societal issues as they affect our campus community.”

Members of Concerned Student 1950 said they were unsatisfied with Wolfe’s statement Sunday and said they want more than just an open dialogue.

Several lawmakers also issued public statements about the controversy on Sunday. Some of them called for Wolfe to resign.

Sunday evening members of theMissouri Students Associationsent a letter to the Board of Curators demanding the board remove Wolfe from his position.

The controversy was pushed into the national spotlight Friday after several University of Missouri football players announced their support of ongoing campus protests against racial injustice, promising to stop playing games until President Wolfe resigned.

Defensive playersAnthony SherrilsandJohn Gibson III, both African-American, tweeted the message, along with a picture of several athletes standing with Butler.

This is a developing story. ABC 17 News will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.

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