Filed under: Bureaucracy, Economics, Education, Health Care, Intelligence, Law, Regulation, The United States | Tags: A Public Rebuke, Free Speech is Optional, Outside Agitators, Political Correctness
You remember Melissa Click, I’m sure. She was an assistant professor of communication at the University of Missouri in the fall of 2015 when student protests brought the education process to a screeching halt. Screeching was what brought Melissa to national attention when she attempted to stop a student photographer from taking pictures of the protests: “We need some muscle over here” she cried, and the unflattering picture went viral.
The student protests rocked the school, forcing the resignation of the UM System President Wolfe and Chancellor Loftin. And last week the UM Board of Curators fired Professor Click. But it wasn’t really the board that fired her, it was the action of prospective students and their parents, donors, and alumni — all expressing their dismay with their checkbooks.
The University of Missouri announced in fiscal year 2014 that it had set an outstanding fundraising effort of $164.5 million. They were so pleased with their success that they announced a new fundraising campaign “Mizzou: Our Time to Lead,” last October 8, with a goal of raising $1.3 billion by 2020. The campaign began on October 9th.
Mizzou was also the first campus disordered by disruptions last fall. It was homecoming weekend, and protesters blocked the homecoming parade route, blocking the then-president Tim Wolfe’s car to a halt. Then the UM football players announced they would demonstrate their support for a graduate student’s hunger strike by refusing to play another football game until Wolfe resigned. Some graduate students were protesting the school’s ending their health insurance coverage (which the school said was forced by ObamaCare). But the basic cause of the protests seemed to be perceived racism, which may have been a hoax.
In November, both the President and Chancellor were forced from office, and at the same time, the video of Professor Click hit social media. It showed her attempting to grab the journalism student’s camera, and shouting “Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here” Click shouted to the protesters. “I need some muscle over here.” A communication professor’s forgetting the First Amendment rights of a student journalist seemed to be the last straw for the people of Missouri.
In January, it was reported that student applications had dropped 14 applications, or 5 %, and graduate students’ applications plunged 19%. And worse the Columbia campus received a 7 .7 percent drop in high-scoring SAT and ACT applicants, and out of state applications had dropped by 25% from the previous year. In state annual tuition is $9,433 and out-of-state students pay a full $24,460, a real blow to the school’s budget.
Then last week, UM announced that new pledges and donations in December—the key month for donations — had fallen by $6 million. The UM Board of Curators announced that Professor Click had been fired. She had been on suspension with pay since the end of January. There are questions about her dismissal and due process from FIRE and the AAUP (American Association of University Professors).
The important thing here may be the public rebuke directly from their pocketbooks — which is unmistakable. Will the public backlash to Mizzou be carried out at other schools as well? What about the effects of outside agitators from earlier protests like Ferguson and Baltimore, from #Black Lives Matter, Acorn, Organizing for America and other groups trained in “community organizing?” Many of the so-called “racist” incidents have turned out to be hoaxes.
And isn’t it interesting that protests spontaneously develop on one campus after another on supposedly unrelated causes. Harvard Law is going to dump its seal, which contains the crest of a 18th century slave owner. Yale president Peter Salovey has promised to “build a more inclusive Yale, one without isolation and hostility.” What seems to me more disturbing is the resignation of presidents and administrators, and their failure to simply send the students home. It seems that the students with their foolishness are in charge, and how did that happen?
Yesterday, I saved a piece from Reason.com on student activist demands at Western Washington University in Bellingham. WWU students want” an entire academic college dedicated to breeding social justice activists, separate residential safe spaces for racial groups, and a student committee charged with policing offensive speech.” That, I thought, is carrying the political correctness a bit too far. But then today, I couldn’t find where I had saved the piece, and tried Googling it, and quickly got proof that protests are just another regular thing at WWU, and probably safely ignored. It’s easy to get students all fired up, over not much of anything. It’s not so easy to get administrators to act responsibly.
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