Kevin Modelski
Monday November 9th, 2015

*UPDATE: University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe formally announced his resignation on Monday morning.*

The University of Missouri football team says it will not take part in any football-related activities until university system president Tim Wolfe resigns.

Late Saturday night, Missouri's Legion of Black Collegians, the school's black student government, tweeted out a photo of black football players locking arms with Jonathan Butler, a Missouri masters student and activist who has been hunger striking for the past week until Wolfe resigns or is removed from office.

"The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe 'Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere' We will no longer participate in any football related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students' experiences. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!" the note in the tweet read.

Sunday morning, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel tweeted a photo of his football team and coaches locking arms, and a message of support for his players' decision to boycott football activities.

Since Butler's hunger strike began last Monday, members of the group Concerned Student 1950—named after the year Missouri admitted its first black students—have been camping on Carnahan Quad to demonstrate support for Butler.

Reuben Faloughi, an MU doctoral student and former Georgia football player, said he was glad he could see the football team "resist the system" for a cause.

"I felt (like) my soul was glistening," said Faloughi, a member of Concerned Student 1950.

Missouri's boycott of football activities has brought another level of attention to the protest movement, which has been gaining steam this semester after a series of racially charged incidents on campus.

In September, MU student body president Payton Head posted that he was called a racial slur while walking on campus. In October, Legion of Black Collegians members were racially slurred by a student on Traditions Plaza. MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin implemented mandatory diversity training for MU students, faculty and staff just days later.

Allison Long/The Kansas City Star via AP

On Oct. 10 during the Homecoming Parade, Butler and members of Concerned Student 1950 blocked Wolfe's car during a demonstration. The group then issued a list of demands, which included an apology and a resignation from Wolfe.

The group met with Wolfe later in October, days after a swastika was drawn on a residence hall bathroom with fecal matter. Butler went on a hunger strike Nov. 2, and the students started camping out on Carnahan Quad in support of Concerned Student 1950. The group demonstrated during Thursday's home football game against Mississippi State.

On Sunday, not long after news surfaced that the football team was striking, Wolfe released a statement indicating he had no plans to resign.

"In the meantime, I am dedicated to ongoing dialogue to address these very complex, societal issues as they affect our campus community," Wolfe said in the statement.

On Sunday, Pinkel said the team has decided to not practice or meet until Butler resumes eating.

Missouri's next game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14 against BYU at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. If one school cancels, according to the game contract, it must pay $1 million in damages to the other school, unless there is a mutual agreement.

The UM System Board of Curators is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Monday to likely discuss the matter.

Kevin Modelski is SI's campus correspondent for the University of Missouri. Follow him on Twitter.


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