COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri System Board of Curators plans to be more directly involved in unifying and overseeing the system’s four campuses.

Curator David Steelman spoke Tuesday at a forum about the lasting effects of the Columbia campus’ fall 2015 protests, the Columbia Missourian reported . Steelman said the lack of strong, decisive leadership largely was the cause of the Columbia campus’ public perception problems during and after the protests.

“No one wanted to stand up and say, ‘This is why (former University of Missouri Chancellor) Bowen Loftin resigned, this is why the president resigned, and by the way, the University of Missouri is not a racist campus,'” he said. “I looked through press clippings, and at no time did I find any leader of the university make the simple, declaratory statement, ‘This is not a racist institution.'”

Steelman said former System President Tim Wolfe was “ill-suited” for the job, but that he was still surprised when Wolfe announced his resignation after the protests.

He said poor system leadership won’t continue. Curators said they plan to work from a position of activism and strength.

“The board is going to have to step in, and it’ll be very controversial,” Steelman said. “There’s people who aren’t going to like these decisions being made, but I don’t see how the University of Missouri goes on to greatness until it starts becoming the University of Missouri with four campuses and not a University of Missouri System that is a back-office operation with four independent contractors.”

Steelman said the system’s current president, Mun Choi, will be a “transformational” leader in education.

Information from: Columbia Missourian,

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