Update: Men Arrested Over Mizzou Death Threats As School Announces Black Interim President

Photo: Daniel Brenner/Columbia Daily Tribune/ AP Photo.
Update 4:05 PM: This afternoon, the troubled University of Missouri took steps to solidify its wavering leadership. The university announced today that deputy chancellor emeritus Michael Middleton will serve as interim president after the resignation of president Tim Wolfe. Middleton, who is Black, is focusing on bringing the Mizzou community back to a positive place. “We need to get our community together, working together,” he was quoted as saying by USA Today. "I don't blame white people who don't understand [racial inequality]. I blame our ugly history."
Update 3:00 PM: Two white men have been arrested on suspicion of making violent threats against Black individuals at the University of Missouri. Reuters reports that Hunter Park and Connor Stottlemyre were arrested on Wednesday for making threats on the socia-media platform Yik Yak. One of the messages, posted late Tuesday night, read, “I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see.” Park is a student in the University of Missouri System, while Stottlemyre is a student at Northwest Missouri State University.

This story was originally published on November 9th.

Update 5:55 PM
: University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Lofton has also resigned from his position. The deans of nine colleges at the school had called for him to be fired on the same day that Wolfe resigned. "The demoralizing campus climate under his lack of leadership is no longer conducive to our fundamental duties of teaching, research and service," the letter said, according to the Columbia Tribune. After days of protests over escalating frustrations about racism and racial harassment at the University of Missouri, school president Tim Wolfe resigned on Monday. During his announcement, Wolfe asked that students, faculty, and community members use his resignation as a chance "to heal and start talking again, and to make the changes necessary." The protests began after months of complaints from students of color and an anemic response from school administrators, with calls for Wolfe to resign gaining momentum after members of the university's football team announced they would neither play nor practice until he was fired or quits. Jonathan Butler, a graduate student at the university, went on hunger strike last week, demanding that Wolfe step down — Butler, who is Black, began his protest on November 2. Since then, student groups and faculty members have spoken out in solidarity with Butler and with other students, who say that have experienced hostility. Graduate students had also planned a walkout for Monday, before Wolfe announced his resignation. "It is my belief that we stopped listening to each other," Wolfe said. "We didn’t respond or react. We got frustrated with each other, and we forced individuals like Jonathan Butler to take unusual steps to affect change. This is not, I repeat, not the way change should come about." "I take full responsibility for this frustration, and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred," he said.
Students had organized activities under the hashtag #ConcernedStudent1950, named after the year the university first admitted Black students, and released their demands. According to the Associated Press, members of the group have been conducting a sit-in for a week. When the Columbia Missourian, a newspaper staffed in part by the university's journalism students, asked people on campus to speak about their experiences with racism at Missouri, stories poured into the paper. Butler condemned Wolfe's inaction in response to multiple racist incidents in a letter announcing his hunger strike, according to the Missourian. "[S]tudents are not able to achieve their full academic potential because of the inequalities and obstacles they face," Butler wrote. "In each of these scenarios, Mr. Wolfe had ample opportunity to create policies and reform that could shift the culture of Mizzou in a positive direction but in each scenario he failed to do so."

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