Former University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned from his position in November following some students’ claims that he was an ineffectual leader who mishandled racism on campus.
Wolfe has been tight-lipped since November, not speaking with the media or releasing any statements after he held a press conference about his resignation.
But on Wednesday, the public got a clearer understanding of Wolfe’s side of events through a leaked email he sent to an undisclosed list of “a select few friends,” according to The Columbia Tribune, which ran the email in full.
Wolfe explained that he was coming forward with his perspective of events because of “grave concerns about the future of the University,” before proceeding to rip into a number of Missouri administrators.
One of Wolfe’s most inflammatory passages is directed at the former university chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, who also resigned from his position in November.
Wolfe alleges that Loftin orchestrated some of the tension on campus to deflect criticism from himself.
Wolfe claims Bowen’s job was on the line shortly before the protests on campus, but Bowen used the Concerned Student 1950 movement (the student-led protest group) to shift focus from him onto Wolfe. He later writes he “made the mistake of hiring Bowen Loftin” in the first place.
Wolfe also attacks Mizzou’s Board of Curators, the governing body at the school. He alleges the board was corrupt, saying that “a few of the members of the board of curators consistently called subordinate staff and faculty members to dig up dirt and use their Curator role to further personal agendas.”
Lastly, Wolfe unleashed on Mizzou’s football team. In the fall, African-American football players at Missouri pledged not to participate in football activities until Wolfe was removed from office. That garnered even more media attention into Missouri’s protests and sparked concern from a community impassioned about football.
Many attribute the football team’s strike as the last straw that toppled Wolfe from his presidency.
Wolfe writes in his email that the “football team’s actions were the equivalent of throwing gasoline on a small fire.” He also says that their actions will cost the school millions in lost tuition, the implication being that students will not want to attend Missouri because of the protests that engulfed the campus.
Wolfe writes that the football team’s coach, Gary Pinkel, “missed an important opportunity to teach his players a valuable life lesson.” He doesn’t elaborate on what that lesson is.
He then complains about being underpaid in his resignation package, while calling out the football coach, Pinkel, for receiving $350,000 per year for three years after he resigned.
Pinkel announced in November that he was diagnosed with cancer, and would be stepping down from his coaching position at the end of the season.
Wolfe ends his email with a call to email recipients to contact Missouri’s board to express concern for events on campus.
We reached out to a representative for the University of Missouri, Wolfe, and Loftin, and we will update this post with any responses we receive.
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