Two days after the University of Missouri’s football team vowed to cease all football activity unless University President Tim Wolfe stepped down, the school’s president has resigned.
Racial tensions on the Columbia, Missouri campus have been accelerating since September, when an African-American student was targeted with racial slurs.
Payton Head, the president of the Missouri Students Association, was walking on campus in the beginning of September when he abused with racial epithets.
“Last night as I walking through campus, some guys riding on the back of a pickup truck decided that it would be ok to continuously scream N***** at me,” he wrote. “I really just want to know why my simple existence is such a threat to society.”
His post went viral, and other students described similar abuse on campus. It took the university nearly a week to respond to the incident, further exacerbating the feeling, by minority students, that their concerns went unheard.
Tensions continued to rise when another group of students was targeted with hate speech in October. Students in the Legion of Black Collegians were rehearsing for a play when an inebriated white male used racial slurs against them, according the Columbia Missourian.
Less than a week later, students staged a protest during Missouri’s homecoming parade. Members of a protest group called Concerned Student 1950 interrupted the parade and stood in front of a red convertible driving President Wolfe. The stopped car moved back and forth, revving its engine and eventually bumping into a student, according to the students. Wolfe later issued an apology.
Later in October, a swastika drawn in human excrement was drawn on a bathroom wall at the university’s Gateway Hall.
Tension began to boil over. Graduate student Jonathan Butler announced he would go on a hunger strike until President Wolfe stepped down. “My body feels like it’s on fire,” Butler, 25, told The Washington Post. “I have pain all over. I’m exhausted. Of course, I’m hungry. I’ve got an ongoing headache.”
And last weekend, African-American football players at Missouri pledged not to participate in football activities until Wolfe was removed from office.
Wolfe hosted a press conference Monday saying he was hoping his resignation would heal the Mizzou community.
“The frustration and anger that I see is clear, real, and I don’t doubt it for a second,” he said. “I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred.”
Business Insider reached out to the University of Missouri and will update this post when we hear back.
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