University of Missouri system president Timothy Wolfe resigned his office in a news conference Monday after weeks of protests stemming from a string of racially charged incidents.
“The frustration and anger that I see is clear, real, and I don’t doubt it for a second,” Wolfe said. “Please, please, use this resignation to heal, not to hate, and let’s move on together for a brighter tomorrow.”
Wolfe also took a shot at the protesters on his way out, saying “this is not the way change comes about…We stopped listening to each other.”
The news came after at least 30 black football players said over the weekend they would not play until Wolfe was removed as university president.
Wolfe said his resignation, which came at a special meeting of the system’s governing board, is effective immediately.
Protests began after the school’s student government president, who is black, reported a group of people shouted racial slurs at him. Members of a black student organization also reported a white student hurling slurs at them, and a swastika drawn in feces was later found in a dorm bathroom.
Tensions came to a head when members of an organization called Concerned Student 1950 – named for the year the university admitted its first black student – blocked Wolfe’s car during the Oct. 10 homecoming parade. Wolfe refused to address the students, and police removed them.
Critics said Wolfe was slow to respond to the incidents on the University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus, where the student body is overwhelmingly white.
This story has been updated. The Associated Press contributed reporting.