The events that led to a leader's resignation.
The fall 2015 semester at the University of Missouri was marked with widespread unrest, a demand for change and a drastic shift in leadership.
During those few short months, discussions about race and oppression rose to the forefront of the student body’s conversations.
Racial slurs became more frequent, graduate student rights were called into question, demands were stated by a group that came to be internationally known as Concerned Student 1950 and protests ensued.
When the demands of Concerned Student 1950 were not recognized, Jonathan Butler, a graduate student, declared a hunger strike to which students began supportively camping on Carnahan Quadrangle for. Meetings were held between UM System President Tim Wolfe, Loftin and Concerned Student 1950, but little was done to alleviate the situation.
On Nov. 7, the MU football team threatened to not practice or play their upcoming game against BYU “due to his (Wolfe’s) negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences,” according to a statement released by the football players via tweet by the Legions of Black Collegians account.
The morning of Nov. 9, then UM System President Tim Wolfe resigned, followed that afternoon by then Chancellor Loftin.
Celebration erupted on Carnahan Quadrangle that morning. Jonathan Butler was able to eat and Concerned Student 1950 addressed supporters later that day on Traditions Plaza.
Meanwhile, the UM System Board of Curators and leadership was in need of replacing the empty roles that were left behind.
Following Nov. 9, the roles UM System President and the Chancellor were filled by interim positions and work is being done to improve the situations on campus.
Questions needing to be answered, changes still needing to be made and the tension that was felt so deeply during the fall still seemingly visible on the horizon.
Residence to residential.
In the months since stepping away from Chancellor, Bowen Loftin finds himself with more time to dedicate to activities he enjoys, to his new role at MU and to his wife.
The support the former Chancellor received over Twitter wasn’t the only positive feedback during the time following his resignation; however, Bowen also had the love and support of his wife of 43 years, Karin.
Since November, the couple has been able to spend more free time attending sporting events, seeing local orchestra performances and movies...even going for walks together.
This freedom provides Bowen with opportunities to support athletes at MU sporting events, meet up and interact with students and spend time with Karin.
The transition away from being Chancellor was a journey that Bowen coped with in many ways. His wife Karin, a constant source of support through it all, was there after all the doors had been closed and offered a sense of true understanding.
Not long after the campus tension subsided, Bowen and Mrs. Loftin embarked on an endeavor to find a new home in Columbia, Mo. A necessary process, with Bowen’s new role at MU, that the couple found very difficult during the holiday season.
After finding a house, the Loftin’s life was slowly but surely boxed up, piece by piece, and stacked throughout the basement and in empty rooms around the Residence. Possessions were labeled “goes with Loftin” and “stays with the house” as Karin made her way through organizing the couple’s things before the movers arrived to take care of the rest.
The new house’s secrets are still undiscovered and its personality is yet to be revealed to the Loftins like the ways of the Residence on the Quad. Even though Bowen’s time as Chancellor is over, the memories of the Residence remain clear in his mind.
Adjusting to a new role at MU.
Fitting into what Bowen referred to as the “research broker” role at the University has been a comfort for the former Chancellor.
Travel has remained constant during the transition, traveling to places such as Orlando, Fl. and Los Angeles, Calif. to network with research laboratories and creative technological institutes for on-campus research projects.
Many of the people Bowen Loftin has been meeting with are old friends — people he met while attending a conference when he used to do more research-based work. These connections have allowed Bowen to bring in funding for research projects at the University in the colleges of engineering, education and computer science.
Even though most of Bowen’s work days are spent meeting with research faculty and students about projects, attending seminars or traveling to network for funding, the new schedule gives the former Chancellor time to still be involved on campus, which he enjoys.
In the mornings, usually beginning at 5 a.m. so as to not take any of the equipment from the student athletes, Bowen makes his way over to the Missouri Athletic Training Center (MATC) to get a workout in to start his day. After the move, the former Chancellor will no longer have access to the MATC facility, but he plans to keep up the routine at Wilson’s Fitness, which is just a few minutes down the road from his new home.
The relationships Bowen has built with faculty and students throughout his tenure at the University of Missouri has been a driving force in the former Chancellor’s involvement at campus-wide events such as sporting events and philanthropy gatherings.