Mizzou System Loses 2nd Board Member in a Week, 3rd Since NovemberBy Russell Westerholm
With the resignation of David Steward, the University of Missouri system has now lost two members of its Board of Curators in less than a week.
Steward, the 2nd Congressional District's representative, had another year on his term and his resignation leaves the MU board with six voting members. Coming on the heels of Yvonne Sparks' resignation, his exit also leaves the board with no African-American members as well, The Kansas City Star reported.
Sparks resigned the same day Tim Wolfe, the UM system's former president, released a letter highly critical of the Board of Curators and the current leadership. In the letter, he seemed to imply board members were leaking information to the media and to politicians.
"It has been a great honor to serve the four campuses of the University of Missouri System in the role of curator, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity," Steward said in a statement. "However, we have been blessed with substantial opportunities to continue to expand our business globally. This ultimately will create more jobs for the state of Missouri, and I am choosing to make that my primary focus."
Neither Steward nor Sparks cited the unrest on MU's campus that boiled over in Nov. when the football team announced it would boycott team activities until a student named Jonathan Butler ended his hunger strike. Butler was protesting Wolfe's perceived indifference toward complaints of racist activity at the school. Wolfe resigned the day after the football team called attention to Butler's demonstration.
The first of MU's board members to resign since then was Ann Covington, who cited personal and family reasons for her exit, The Star reported. Covington announced her resignation about a week after the highly publicized demonstrations took place on the flagship Columbia campus.
The MU Board of Curators consists of nine members and one student curator, overseeing the system's four campuses: Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, and St. Louis.