The events at the University of Missouri campus this week made me realize how fortunate I am to be away from the political correctness insanity that has gripped college campuses today.
That eight percent of a university’s student population can force the President of the University of Missouri system and the Chancellor of the university’s flagship campus at Columbia, Mo. to resign with their tails tucked between their legs speaks volumes about how appallingly cockeyed things are in our institutions of higher learning.
As a former Department Head and then Dean of a college on the campus of the University of Illinois from 1997 to 2010, I never experienced anything like what happened at the University of Missouri.
Nevertheless, the undercurrents were there. As the University of Illinois, to its credit, worked diligently to promote an atmosphere of inclusiveness, tolerance, and diversity, we administrators were continually aware that any comment, any action, any slip of the tongue that was the least bit politically incorrect would land you in a PC star chamber.
Political correctness on college campuses today is the greatest single threat to a first-rate liberal education. It stifles discourse, impedes the exchange of ideas, and fosters a sense of unabashed and detrimental entitlement. Oppose it, or worse, ignore it and you get what just happened at the University of Missouri.
So just how rampant is racism and other malicious “isms” on the campus of the University of Missouri?
Are white-hooded Ku Klux Klansmen marching on campus looking to lynch black people, Catholics, Jews or others they deem undesirable?
Are professors advocating racism, sexism, or religious intolerance in classrooms?
Does the university discriminate against minority students by refusing them financial aid, accommodations, or access to classes?
Dare I say, none of the above?
Instead, here are the alleged egregious acts that enraged the bombastic and entitled eight percent:
Alleged Racial Slurs
Protests began this semester after the university’ student government president, who is black, said a couple of white students in a pick-up truck yelled a racial slur at him on campus.
This semester a swastika drawn in feces was found in a dorm bathroom.
During the university’s Oct. 10 homecoming parade, a protest group gathered around University of Missouri system President Tim Wolfe’s car and temporarily stopped the parade. Then, according to a local TV news crew, Wolfe’s car allegedly nudged one of the demonstrators. That’s often what happens when you stand in front of a moving vehicle. In any case, Wolfe, who was not driving, did not get out of the car and the parade continued much to the annoyance of the protesters.
Then, last Saturday some 30 black members of the Missouri football team declared in a tweet that they wouldn’t play until President Wolfe resigned. By Sunday, more members of the team, black and white, and head coach Gary Pinkel publicly backed the players, and the media started paying attention.
God forbid that the football team refuses to take the field. That’s BIG MONEY. Is it any wonder then that Missouri’s top administrators had to go? After all, isn’t football what drives everything in today’s universities? Don’t football coaches earn more than university presidents? (Answer: You better believe they do!)
Things reached critical mass Monday when Wolfe actually stepped down, followed shortly afterward by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
So what now?
Should the University of Missouri be closed down for the racist, intolerant, homophobic, sexist, pro-Nazi, mean-spirited, white-privileged, and unwelcoming institution it has become?
Ahem. As a graduate of the University of Kansas, that wouldn’t bother me one bit.
Perhaps a little history lesson is needed here to put things in context. Kansas, my home state, joined the union as a free state in 1861, while Missouri was admitted as a slave state in 1821.
After Kansas was admitted as a free state, the Missouri Slavers and the Kansas Free State Jayhawkers began a “border war” that endured until the University of Missouri left the Big-12 conference for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 2012, thus ending one of the oldest and bitterest rivalries in college athletics.
Maybe that explains why things are so screwed up at the University of Missouri.