The University of Missouri's Board of Curators named Mike Middleton the system's interim president Thursday.
The law professor and civil rights attorney will replace Tim Wolfe, who resigned Monday after students protested his handling of racist incidents on campus and his administration's decision to cancel graduate students' health insurance subsidies and university contracts with Planned Parenthood. Middleton will be the second black president of the University of Missouri system, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. He was the third black student to graduate from the Mizzou law school, the university said.
Middleton is currently Mizzou's deputy chancellor emeritus and a professor emeritus of law and previously served as vice provost for minority affairs and faculty development. According to the Missourian, he helped found the Legion of Black Collegians while a student at Mizzou and pushed for scholarships for black students during his time as an administrator.
The curators formally announced his appointment as interim president at a news conference Thursday afternoon. The student activists who pushed for Wolfe's resignation praised the selection of Middleton.
"Mike Middleton is the best person to lead the system during this critical period of transition, with 30 years of leadership experience on the MU campus and past service as a civil rights attorney," Donald Cupps, chair of the university's Board of Curators, said in a statement.
Middleton previously served an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. He currently sits on the 40-member Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court.
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