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University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigns, new diversity initiatives announced

Hours after University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned Monday morning, R. Bowen Loftin announced he will step down from his position as chancellor of the University of Missouri's Columbia campus.

Loftin will start in his new role as director for research facility development on Jan. 1, 2016, The Columbia Tribune reports. Hank Foley, the senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, has been appointed interim chancellor. Wolfe resigned from his position after students and faculty began to protest against his response to race-related issues at the school. "I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred," he said. Donald Cupps, chairman of the Board of Curators, announced Monday that within the next 90 days, the University of Missouri system will appoint its first chief diversity, inclusion, and equity officer; will make extra support available for students, faculty, and staff who have been discriminated against; and will make additional efforts to hire and retain diverse faculty and staff.

The Columbia Tribune reported earlier in the day that deans from nine different University of Missouri colleges sent a letter to Wolfe and the Board of Curators, calling for Loftin's dismissal. In the letter, the deans said they met with Wolfe, Loftin, and Provost Garnett Stokes on Oct. 13 to express their concerns over "the multitude of crises on our flagship campus," and said those issues "have continued to deteriorate into a campus crisis that demands immediate and decisive action. It is the chancellor's responsibility as the chief executive officer of the campus to effectively address these campus issues." The deans went on to write that Loftin proved he was not an adequate leader by eliminating and then reinstating health insurance for graduate assistants and getting rid of the vice chancellor for health sciences position, and claimed he created a "toxic environment through threat, fear, and intimidation."

Last week, a similar letter was sent to Wolfe and the curators from the Department of English, which stated that 26 faculty members expressed no confidence in Loftin, with two people abstaining from the vote.