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Newly named interim MU president addresses university

The University of Missouri Board of Curators Thursday announced a new interim President for the UM System.

In addition, the board turned over MU Chancellor responsibilities from R. Bowen Loftin to interim Chancellor Hank Foley effective immediately.

Mike Middleton is currently deputy chancellor emeritus and professor emeritus at the MU law school.

Middleton has had about 30 years of experience with the university.

Middleton first addressed the ongoing issues that have developed over the past several weeks at Mizzou, saying, “We all know the university has faced troubling incidents, and we must move forward. This is a learning experience for all of us.”

“This problem is centuries old. It will take years to solve, if it can be solved. I’m committed to making giant steps forward,” said Middelton. “We’ve got to put the facts on the table. We’ve got to understand the ugly history that permeates everything we do.”

Middleton brought up the list of demands from the Concerned Student 1950 group and drew comparisons to a similar list issued by the Legion of Black Collegians.

“The demands that were submitted in 1969, 2005, and 2015 involve complex interactions among many at MU.”

In reference to the demands of Concerned Student 1950, Middleton said, “I intend to meet every demand that can be met. If certain demands cannot be met, we will explain why.”

Following threats made on social media this week, Middelton said, “I will not tolerate harmful or hateful actions. Any party involved will be held accountable for their actions.”

Middleton praised the efforts of MUPD over the course of this week and said they will continue to make sure campus is a safe place “where young people can feel free to learn and grow.”

Middleton said his race may be met with criticism, and was quick to say, “I sympathize with white people who don’t understand. I don’t blame white people who don’t understand.”

In closing, Middleton said conversations will be had with students, faculty, state leaders, and alumni.

“Hopefully this kind of turmoil will dissipate. I’m moving forward, trying to rebuild, this institution.”

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