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MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin to step down at end of this year

University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Lofting announced Monday that he will transition into research starting Jan. 1. Earlier Monday, Tim Wolfe, the president of the university system, resigned from his position.
University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Lofting announced Monday that he will transition into research starting Jan. 1. Earlier Monday, Tim Wolfe, the president of the university system, resigned from his position. along@kcstar.com

R. Bowen Loftin announced late Monday that he will step down at the end of this year as chancellor of the University of Missouri’s Columbia campus.

Loftin will move to a role coordinating research on the campus.

The announcement came hours after University of Missouri System president Tim Wolfe resigned.

Loftin’s departure followed a report in the Columbia Tribune that the deans of nine different MU departments have requested his dismissal.

The Tribune reported Monday afternoon that the deans sent a letter to the Board of Curators saying they wanted to express “our deep concern about the multitude of crises on our flagship campus.” The letter called for Loftin’s dismissal.

The nine deans met on Oct. 9 and on Oct. 13 met with Wolfe, Loftin and Provost Garnett Stokes to express their concerns, according to the letter.

“The issues we raised in those meetings have continued to deteriorate into a campus crisis that demands immediate and decisive action,” they wrote. “It is the Chancellor’s responsibility as the Chief Executive Officer of the campus to effectively address these campus issues.”

Loftin, the former president of Texas A&M University, has been chancellor at MU since February 2014.

The letter is signed by Daniel Clay, dean of the College of Education; Kristofer Hagglund, dean of the School of Health Professions; David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism; Judith Miller, dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing; Gary Myers, dean of the School of Law; Neil Olson, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine; Michael O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science; Thomas Payne, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; and Barton Wechsler, dean of the Truman School of Public Affairs.

The deans said Loftin has shown failed leadership through a number of instances, including the elimination and eventual reinstatement of graduate assistant health insurance and the elimination of the vice chancellor for health sciences position. The deans claim Loftin created a “toxic environment through threat, fear and intimidation.”

The letters come less than a week after Department of English faculty members set a letter to Wolfe and the Curators with a similar vote of no confidence in Loftin. The English faculty cast 26 votes of no confidence, zero votes of confidence and two abstentions. The English Department was the first to publicly call for Loftin’s dismissal.

Sam Cohen, an associate professor with the English Department, said the faculty members hoped their letter would encourage other departments to voice their opinions.

Diversity initiatives

The Board of Curators announced a series of measures to be implemented over the next 90 days to address the racial climate on all four campuses. Among the steps:

▪  The appointment of a Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer.

▪  A full review of policies relating to staff and student conduct.

▪  Additional support for students, faculty and staff who have experienced “discrimination and disparate treatment.”

▪ Additional support will be provided for the hiring and retention of a diverse faculty and staff.

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