Subscribe for 99¢
Jonathan Butler ends hunger strike, UM system president resigns

Graduate student Jonathan Butler leads student activists in a chant to conclude a press conference on the Carnahan Quadrangle after he ended a hunger strike following the resignation of University of Missouri President Timothy M. Wolfe on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

Here's a rundown of events that led to the resignation of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe and Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin on Monday.

August 2014: Dozens of Missouri students join demonstrators after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Three students start the activist group MU for Michael Brown, which later gives rise to a second group, Concerned Student 1950; that group's name is a nod to the year black students were first admitted to the university.

April 8: A swastika and the word "heil" are drawn in what appears to be charcoal on the wall of a residence hall stairway. Authorities arrest freshman resident Bradley Becker days later and charge him with second-degree property damage motivated by discrimination. Becker pleads guilty in October to a lesser charge and will serve two years probation.

Sept. 12: Missouri Student Association president Payton Head says he was walking with a friend when a pickup truck slows down and a group of young people inside scream a racial epithet at him. Head, who is black, shares the story in a social media post that goes viral and prompts a response from Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Head says at the time that he had been previously called a racial slur on campus, as well.

Oct. 5: Members of the Legion of Black Collegians are rehearsing on campus for a homecoming court performance when an "inebriated white man" walking by interrupts and calls the students the n-word, the group publicly announces. "There was a silence that fell over us all, almost in disbelief that this racial slur in particular was used in our vicinity," the group writes.

Oct. 8: The university says  that all incoming freshman will have to receive online diversity training. The move is welcomed by some students. But activists are more skeptical, calling the move a "knee-jerk" reaction to improve the school's image.

Oct. 10:  Police remove Concerned Student 1950 protesters who block University president Tim Wolfe's car during the campus homecoming parade. Wolfe does not leave his car to speak with the students. "We disrupted the parade specifically in front of Tim Wolfe because we need him to get our message," graduate student Jonathan Butler, one of the protesters, tells the Columbia Missourian. "We've sent emails, we've sent tweets, we've messaged, but we've gotten no response back from the upper officials at Mizzou to really make change on this campus. And so we directed it to him personally."

Oct. 21: Concerned Student 1950 releases a list of demands, including that Wolfe apologize to the homecoming parade demonstrators and be removed from his post. The students also demand increasing black faculty and staff; mandatory racial awareness and inclusion curriculum for all staff, faculty and students; and additional funding and resources for mental health professionals, particularly those of color, to boost campus programming and outreach to students.

Oct. 24:  Officials find another swastika on campus, this one drawn using feces smeared on the floor and wall of a bathroom. "After this event, it has become clear to me that the inclusivity of our residence halls has been threatened," Resident Halls Association president Bill Donley says in a statement.

Oct. 27: Concerned Student 1950 meets with Wolfe, but says that he wasn't meeting any of their demands. "Wolfe verbally acknowledged that he cared for Black students at the University of Missouri, however he also reported he was 'not completely' aware of systemic racism, sexism, and patriarchy on campus," a statement from the group reads.

Nov. 2: Jonathon Butler, a 25-year-old graduate student announces a hunger strike that, he says, he would not break unless Wolfe resigned. Butler, a member of Concerned Student 1950, says he is ready to die for his cause, and other students began camping out on campus in support. "As much as the experiences on campus have not been that great for me - I had people call me the n-word, I had someone write the n-word on the a door in my residence hall - for me it really is about a call for justice," Butler told the Post. "I'm fighting for the black community on campus, because justice is worth fighting for. And justice is worth starving for."

Nov. 6: Wolfe releases a statement apologizing for how student protests at homecoming were handled and expressing concern for Butler's health. "My behavior seemed like I did not care," Wolfe says of the parade incident. "That was not my intention. I was caught off guard in that moment. Nonetheless, had I gotten out of the car to acknowledge the students and talk with them perhaps we wouldn't be where we are today."

Nov. 7: A group of black football players announces that they are joining ongoing student protests and pledged to stop participating in football-related activities for the remainder of the season unless Wolfe resigned or was fired.

Nov. 8: Head coach Gary Pinkel tweets his support for his players and includes a photo showing what appeared to include staff with both black and white players from the Mizzou football team.

Source: Washington Post, Associated Press, Columbia Missourian