The complaints came to a head over the weekend when at least 30 black football players announced they would not participate in team activities until Wolfe was removed or stepped down.
For months, black student groups have complained of racial slurs and other slights on the overwhelmingly white flagship campus of the state's four-college system.
Frustrations flared during a homecoming parade Oct. 10 when black protesters blocked Wolfe's car, and he did not get out and talk to them. They were removed by police.
Black members of the football team joined the outcry on Saturday night. By Sunday, a campus sit-in had grown in size, graduate student groups planned walkouts and politicians began to weigh in.
Wolfe, 56, is a former software executive and Missouri business school graduate whose father taught at the university. He was hired in 2011 as president of a four-campus system that includes Columbia, succeeding another former business executive who also lacked experience in academia.
The campus in Columbia is about 120 miles west of Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb where tensions erupted over the shooting death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown last year by a white police officer.