By Robert A. Vella
People really do have the power to change the world. All it takes is the strategic wisdom to know when, where, and how to fight, a little logistical organization, moral commitment to a worthy cause, and the will to win. Solidarity is the key to moving a complacent or intransigent establishment.
Today, such a victory was achieved against the University of Missouri administration which had largely ignored escalating acts of racism on its campus. President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation despite earlier assurances that he would remain in his job. From Yahoo – University of Missouri president resigns amid race tensions:
Washington (AFP) – The president of the University of Missouri resigned Monday amid a spiralling controversy over the school leadership’s handling of racial tensions on campus that prompted dozens of black football players to threaten a strike.
Tim Wolfe stepped down as student protests mounted, saying it was important for students and faculty to “heal, not to hate” and to move forward.
“I’m resigning as president of the University of Missouri system,” Wolfe said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
“I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred,” he said at a press conference.
At the weekend, dozens of black players on the university’s high-profile football team said they would boycott team activities until Wolfe either stepped down or was removed.
“The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere’,” they said in a statement distributed on social media, quoting slain black civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
The black football players were united with the team’s coaching staff and the school faculty. No student, no person, should be subjected to unmitigated racial slurs and intimidation in an institution of higher learning or anywhere else for that matter. Their cause was just. Their fight was long overdue. Their strategy and tactics were effective. You see, the University of Missouri would have lost millions of dollars from the cancellation of its upcoming football games. “Hit ’em where it hurts most” is an appropriate adage to use here. Where the university administration was most vulnerable was right smack-dab in their pocketbook.
The resignation of Mr. Wolfe will not end racism at the university, in Missouri, or in America. The fight must go on, and that will require great commitment and determination. However, it does send a clear message to institutional authorities across the nation – the worsening problem of racial injustice can no longer be ignored.