Former Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin will step down as chancellor of the University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia, a school embroiled in controversy over allegations of racism where numerous faculty members have been calling for his resignation.
Loftin announced his impending exit Monday afternoon after a closed-doors meeting of the school's board of curators, according to media reports. He plans to leave at year's end. The school's president, Tim Wolfe, also resigned Monday.
The campus has been in turmoil for days. Black students have complained about racial slurs on campus and published on anonymous social media apps. A graduate student, Jonathan Butler, conducted a weeklong hunger strike asking for the president's removal. This weekend, the Missouri football team announced that it wouldn't play until Wolfe was fired.
Loftin was dealing with that and a slew of other problems. Graduate students were enraged in August when the school announced that their medical benefits would be cut due to the Affordable Care Act. The students were given one day's notice, though the school eventually backtracked on its plans. Last week, the school's English department unanimously approved a vote of no confidence in Loftin, saying he failed to defend the school's mission against outside political pressure.
On Monday, nine of the school's deans sent a letter to the governing board calling for Loftin's replacement. They complained about a “toxic environment through threat, fear and intimidation" under Loftin.
Loftin was president of Texas A&M for more than four years. He was popular among students but generated skepticism among many faculty members. He resigned in 2014, saying he wanted to spend more time with students. He received an $850,000 exit agreement from the school and accepted the Missouri job before he was officially out as A&M president.
The university said Loftin will remain at Missouri and oversee research.
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