Blistering Tim Wolfe email attacks Bowen Loftin, MU football, others

10 months 1 week 6 days ago January 27, 2016 Jan 27, 2016 Wednesday, January 27 2016 Wednesday, January 27, 2016 2:02:00 PM CST in News
By: Luisangel Rodriguez, KOMU 8 Digital Producer and Ashley Holt, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - A confidential email sent by former UM System president Tim Wolfe attacked the Board of Curators, Mizzou football, Bowen Loftin, and others. The email was intended for “a select few friends” who Wolfe said he believes are “passionate enough about MU, the City of Columbia and the University of Missouri System to do something to improve our future.”

In the email, Wolfe said he resigned out of love for MU and the rest of the system. He said he felt that it was the right thing to do to prevent “further embarrassment” and a potential “Ferguson-like event on the MU Campus.”

In regards to Loftin, Wolfe says the former chancellor angered Greek life over proposed changes and angered graduate students by taking away their health insurance then reinstating it. Wolfe said Loftin shifted the focus of Concerned Student 1950 to Wolfe once Loftin discovered his job was in jeopardy.

Wolfe also said the football team’s tweet showing support of the protestors was the “equivalent of throwing gasoline on a small fire.” He said $1 million penalty that would’ve been a result of forfeiting the BYU game pales in comparison to the $25 million in lost tuition and fees MU will realize with reduced enrollment in the Fall.

Wolfe wrote that MU Athletic Director Mack Rhoades, Bowen Loftin and Coach Pinkel failed to communicate with system officials and he sees the events as a missed opportunity for Pinkel to teach his players a “valuable life lesson.”

Wolfe accused the Board of Curators of calling subordinate staff and faculty members to “dig up dirt” and using their curator role to further personal agendas.

Wolfe said he requested support from the Board of Curators to terminate Loftin and quoted the Board Chair as saying, “You have been telling me for four months of the poisonous situation on the MU campus and I have been slow to act.”

Wolfe said his resignation was the only way to “relieve the pressure” and prevent “injury and further embarrassment on our campus.”

The email also questioned interim President Michael Middleton and suggested Middleton should have used his relationship with hunger striker Jonathan Butler and the minority students on the MU campus to stop the growing protest.

Wolfe also accused Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, of influencing at least one member of the Board of Curators to keep Loftin in place.

The email said Wolfe has been contacted by a large number of national media including Anderson Cooper, Bill O’Reilly, the New York Times, and others, but he has refused to give any interviews to protect the brand of the university and the state. Wolfe said he believes his silence has resulted in his name being unfairly attached to the issues of race and incompetent leadership.

Wolfe said he accepts some responsibility and that hiring Bowen Loftin was a mistake.

At the end of the email, Wolfe asked for a “call to action” to express concern over the current situation and to tell the Board of Curators to resolve his contract negotiation. He said all negotiations with the board have stopped and he can either accept a small fraction of the total compensation or to litigate. He said that would involve him going public with “the reasons as to why I was the target of Concerned Student 1950.”

Wolfe said the board wants him to agree to a “gag order” in which he will not criticize the board or anybody else that was involved in the events leading up to his resignation. He accused the curators of being neither “fair nor consistent” with him in comparison to the treatment Loftin and Pinkel received.

Wolfe called it “embarrassing in light of which leader did the right thing to help the university and which leader was only looking out for themselves.”

Not many of the people called out in the letter could be reached for comment.  

However, Loftin said many of Wolfe’s accusations are inaccurate, specifically that he had any influence over Concerned Student 1950.

 “That is categorically not true. MU students are very intelligent people,” Loftin said. “To imagine that I could use them like puppets and manipulate them in some way is absurd.”

Loftin said Wolfe’s attacks on his decision-making don’t make sense, since the two communicated often.

“We met at least once a week, sometimes more than that, spoke on the phone frequently,” Loftin said. “Everything I knew I communicated to him. Every major decision I made was also communicated to him before I made it.”

Wolfe stating it was a mistake for him to hire Loftin came as a surprise to Loftin.

“We had our annual evaluation for the second time in August of 2015. He responded with a letter which praised me, gave me a pay-raise and paid ninety percent of my performance incentive for the fiscal year of 2015,” Loftin said.

The UM System released a statement on Wolfe’s letter:

“We are aware that former President Tim Wolfe recently has made public to some university supporters a letter containing his thoughts about the events of last autumn and his desire to reach what he regards as an acceptable financial agreement between himself and the university. Since Mr. Wolfe resigned voluntarily last November, discussions have been on-going  aimed at reaching an acceptable post-resignation agreement, including the use of a well-regarded and well-known mediator. After discussions which included  mediation on December 18 left Mr. Wolfe's situation unresolved, discussions have been on-going including another mediation recently.  Our position has been that any agreement would have to be consistent with the legal constraints within which a public institution such as the university operates.”

 

 

 

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