Former University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe is blaming some of the central figures involved in the unrest that brought the university to national attention in an email to people he confided in, labeled “CONFIDENTIAL.”
Wolfe stepped down from his position last November after a black student’s hunger strike led the controversy surrounding the treatment of minority college students.
The last email I sent to many of you was shortly after I resigned November 9, 2015. These last two months have affected my family and me in ways that are indescribable. The effect on MU and the University of Missouri System has also been significant. I do want to thank many of you who have reached out to me with words of thanks, encouragement and support.
I’m sending you this long overdue and confidential email to a select few friends who I believe are passionate enough about MU, the City of Columbia and the University of Missouri System to do something to improve our future.
▪ MU Football Team Strike – The football team’s decision to strike is what actually brought most of the national attention to our university. In hindsight, the $1 million penalty associated with forfeiting the game against BYU would have paled in comparison to the more than $25 million in lost tuition and fees MU will realize with reduced enrollment this Fall. It’s also a pittance of the threatened loss of state funding that could be as much as $500 million. Unfortunately, MU Athletic Director Mack Rhoades, Coach Pinkel and Bowen Loftin all failed to communicate with system officials on this matter. The football team’s actions were the equivalent of throwing gasoline on a small fire. Coach Pinkel missed an important opportunity to teach his players a valuable life lesson. The end result could be a financial catastrophe for our university.
▪ Campus Safety: My sudden decision to resign was largely motivated by a significant pending event that was to occur on the campus the day I resigned. We had brought in Diversity and Inclusion consulting experts that had dealt with this issue before at other campuses. They, along with the FBI, Missouri Highway Patrol, Columbia Police Department and MU Campus police were aware of a significant Ferguson protestor on our MU campus and there was a threat that more were coming in for significant protest that day. So as to prevent, injury and further embarrassment on our campus, the only way to relieve the pressure and stop the momentum was for me to resign. This was the right decision that was vetted with trusted advisors and board members.
Wolfe seems more concerned about getting the settlement he feels he deserves, and less about how his inept handling of campus situations caused a ripple effect that will last for some time.