MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announces resignation after backlash

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COLUMBIA - MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced Monday he would resign at the end of this year. 

This came just six hours after Tim Wolfe resigned as UM System president. Loftin said he would transition into a new job at the university that deals with research, effective Jan. 1, 2016. 

“I sincerely wish it was different, but events are such that the best course of action for the university at this time is for me to resign,” Loftin said in a news release from the UM System.

Loftin has been MU's chancellor since February 2014 and is the former chancellor of Texas A&M.

Nine University of Missouri deans called for Loftin's resignation in a letter sent Monday to Wolfe and the Board of Curators. They include the deans of the College of Education, School of Health Professions, School of Journalism, School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Law, Truman School of Public Affairs, Sinclair School of Nursing, College of Arts and Science, and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. 

Twenty-six members of MU's English Department gave a vote of no confidence in Loftin's leadership during a meeting on Nov. 4.

Loftin has been under fire for his handling of graduate student rights and the university's relationship with Planned Parenthood. He was also criticized by students, faculty and staff who said his leadership in the wake of racial tensions on campus was unsatisfactory.

Last week, the group Concerned Student 1950 issued a list of demands to the UM System that included the removal of Wolfe from office, as well as a new amendment to UM System policies that would allow "a collective of students, staff, and faculty of diverse backgrounds" to have a role in selecting future presidents and chancellors. 

The UM System stated it would implement a series of initiatives within the next 90 days that will address the racial climate on its four campuses. These include:

  • The creation of a new position for a Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer within the UM System
  • A review of UM System policies regarding staff and student conduct
  • Additional support for students, faculty and staff who have “experienced discrimination and disparate treatment”
  • Additional support for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff

The UM System also announced the creation of system-wide and campus-based diversity, inclusion and equity task forces, as well as an education training program for holders of the university’s top leadership positions. The UM System said it will continue a review of student mental health services and resources.