University Of Missouri Student Starts Hunger Strike To Oust System President From Office

A student at the University of Missouri has started an indefinite hunger strike that he hopes leads to the resignation of the President of the entire four campus Missouri system.

Jonathan L. Butler, a second year masters student at Missouri started his strike at 9 AM CST this morning and he said that he intends to refrain from food until either System President Tim Wolfe resigns or Butler dies trying.

Butler sent a letter explaining his actions to the UM System Board of Curators (the body that helps operate the four campus system and has the power to remove a President) before the strike began.

“During this hunger strike, I will not consume any food or nutritional sustenance at the expense of my health until either Tim Wolfe is removed from office or my internal organs fail and my life is lost,” Butler wrote in the letter that he also published on social media. “Mizzou’s deteriorating culture is like a gaping and infected wound that can only be cured
by scraping out the dead and decaying flesh and starting anew with a flushing of the skin and application of proper antibiotics to begin the healing process. In this scenario, Tim Wolfe is the decaying flesh and the longer her stays in leadership of the UM system the worst the campus climate will become not only at the University of Missouri but also on all UM system campuses.”

“It is extremely concerning when any of our students puts their health and safety in harm’s way,” Wolfe said in a statement supplied to Rise News.

In an interview with Rise News, Butler said that the hunger strike was the next step in civil disobedience that Butler has decided to take after he determined that Wolfe could no longer continue in his current position.

10956216_10204336808272761_2304095891787677252_n

Jonathan L. Butler. Photo Credit: Jonathan L. Butler/ Facebook

Butler highlighted a series of incidents that have occurred on campus in recent months that he says show how little the administration cares about minority students. These events include the removal of health insurance for graduate students, a swastika that was drawn with human feces at a residence hall, cancellation of University contracts with Planned Parenthood and a lack of response when the student body president was called the N word.

Butler also claims that he was “bumped” by the vehicle that Wolfe was riding in multiple times during a demonstration at this year’s Homecoming Parade. Butler contends that it was done purposefully.

Butler is one of the organizers of the student movement called #ConcernedStudent1950, a reference to the year in which the first African-American student enrolled at Mizzou.

“It is extremely concerning when any of our students puts their health and safety in harm’s way,” Wolfe said in a statement supplied to Rise News. “I sincerely hope that Mr. Butler will consider a different method of advocating for this cause. I respect his right to protest and admire the courage it takes to speak up.”

Wolfe also said that he supported an ongoing dialogue about the racial climate on the four campuses that make up the UM system.

“Immediately after my initial meeting with the ConcernedStudent1950 group on October 26th, I invited Jonathan to meet again so we can build a deeper relationship and open a frank conversation about the group’s frustrations and experiences. I remain hopeful that they will accept my invitation,” Wolfe said in the statement.

Butler claims that Wolfe had no desire to meet with the student group and only did so after being pressured into it.

“He said that he had no intention of reaching out to us,” Butler said. “I think Tim Wolfe chooses not to know and he doesn’t really care.”

“I’m tired,” Butler told Rise News. “But I’m inspired and encouraged. I didn’t do this for publicity or to look cool. I did it because I really believe in this.”

In his statement, Wolfe said that his meeting with the #ConcernedStudent1950 was “one example of our engagement at the UM System level on this complex, societal issue.”

“I have met with our chancellors, campus diversity officers, students and faculty about the scope of the problem, so that collectively we may address these issues that are pervasive and systemic in our society,” Wolfe said. “We must always continue our efforts to affect change at our UM System campuses.”

Butler indicated that Wolfe no longer had the moral authority to lead on the issue.

“There is no reforming him,” Butler said of Wolfe. “With him as a leader, he has not taken a firm stance on these issues or tried to make it a more inclusive campus.

Butler said that he is a person of strong Christian faith and that he consulted with his church leaders and got the input of his family and friends before deciding to hunger strike.

For the past two weeks, he has been physically preparing for the strike, slowly reducing the amount of food he has been consuming over time.

“I’m tired,” Butler told Rise News. “But I’m inspired and encouraged. I didn’t do this for publicity or to look cool. I did it because I really believe in this.”

Stay with Rise News as we cover this developing story. 

READ: Full letter Jonathan L. Butler sent to University of Missouri Curators before hunger strike.


 

 

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Jonathan L. Butler/ Facebook

What Do You Think?

comments

About the Author
Rich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.

One comment on “University Of Missouri Student Starts Hunger Strike To Oust System President From Office

  1. Maxwell says:

    …in a couple days when Butler quits the hunger strike, ask him once again how this wasn’t being done to gain publicity.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top