Chairman Loftin expresses his support for Butler’s hunger strike.
My heart is heavy, and I join with other members of the Mizzou family in sharing concern for the health and well-being of one of us—Jonathan Butler. Mr. Butler is a person of principle who is dedicated to raising awareness of and finding solutions for the pernicious problems of racism, discrimination and bias. While I cannot encourage him to put his health at risk, I support his right to peaceful protest and his efforts to raise awareness of the injustice that he and other people of color face in their everyday lives and at the university…Every member of my administration stands ready to work with all students, faculty and staff to define, attain and embrace a future that values each human being and enables them, through discovery, excellence, respect and responsibility, to achieve their dreams.
Butler goes on hunger strike as a response to the lack of action from UM System President Wolfe to several instances of racism and discrimination in past months. He says he will end the strike when Wolfe is no longer in office, or when his internal organs fail. He cites MSA President Payton Head being called a racial slur on campus, the removal of Planned Parenthood services, the #ConcernedStudent1950 protest and the drawing a swastika in feces in a bathroom in Gateway Hall.
Let it be known I have no ill will or thoughts of harm toward Mr. Wolfe. But I do have an urgency to make the campus I call home a more safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all identities and backgrounds. Although these incidents individually are not (Wolfe’s) fault as a collection of incidents at the university, they are his responsibility to address…In each of these scenarios, Mr. Wolfe had ample opportunity to create policies and reform that could shift the culture of Mizzou…Being sound of mind and heart, I have committed myself fully to this endeavor because I believe that the University of Missouri System and all of its constituents deserve a leader who is competent enough to perform at all levels of the position including administrative, political, financial and emotional.