Friday, 14 July 2017

U. of Missouri Misery: Campus Activism Killing Enrollment

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You can’t please all the people all the time, but you can displease most of them most of the time. The University of Missouri (UM) is learning this the hard way: It’s bleeding enrollment after left-wing protests — enabled by a left-wing school administration — racked the campus in 2015. As the New York Times reports:

Freshman enrollment at the Columbia campus, the system’s flagship, has fallen by more than 35 percent in the two years since.

The university administration acknowledges that the main reason is a backlash from the events of 2015, as the campus has been shunned by students and families put off by, depending on their viewpoint, a [mythical] culture of racism or one where protesters run amok.

Before the protests, the university, fondly known as Mizzou, was experiencing steady growth and building new dormitories. Now, with budget cuts due to lost tuition and a decline in state funding, the university is temporarily closing seven dormitories and cutting more than 400 positions, including those of some nontenured faculty members, through layoffs and by leaving open jobs unfilled.

Few areas have been spared: The library is even begging for books.

What they should be begging for is sanity. For they brought this on themselves.

The protests grew out of the lie that systemic anti-black racism prevails in the United States and, in particular, at über-politically correct UM. This misperception led to “physical altercations, screaming matches, intimidation of both white and black students based on race, a ‘poop swastika’ apparently aimed at Jews, and a list of race-based ‘demands’ that quickly migrated to other campuses around the country,” as the Federalist wrote Wednesday.

Yet this delusive mentality was — as is the case at virtually all colleges — nurtured by UM itself. For how long had the school peddled leftist propaganda such as “white privilege” theory, stoking the fires of racial unrest, creating wounds and rubbing them raw? Just consider how UM responded to a pair of incidents, two white students dropping cotton balls in front of a black-culture center (whose existence is part of the problem. Is there a white-culture center?) in 2010 and one student defacing a dormitory with racially charged graffiti. 

They created a “diversity” program dubbed “One Mizzou.” The problem?

Treat these incidents as the minor transgressions they are (we’re not talking about setting fires and committing vandalism to stop a speech, after all — hello, Berkeley), render the appropriate punishment and move on, and things may settle down. But instituting a program makes a mountain out of a molehill, sending the incorrect message that the incident wasn’t just an anomalous act but one characteristic of the whole.

In other words, all that’s necessary is that one student out of 33,000 does something racial, and a federal case will be made. And since there’s always one in every bunch, this guarantees anger-stoking indoctrination and unrest.

Unsurprisingly, UM continues throwing gasoline on the fire. In the protests’ wake, it doubled-down and instituted a requirement that undergrads complete three hours of “diversity intensive” courses.

Yet pandering gets you nowhere, as ex-UM president Tim Wolfe should have learned (but probably didn’t) the hard way. He began, continued, and ended his response with groveling and apologies. “I’m sorry” may be on his tombstone. Of course, he could have apologized for peddling left-wing propaganda, but his brand of contrition didn’t breathe new life into his tenure — he ended up resigning his presidency, anyway.

Contrast this with how Oklahoma Wesleyan University president Dr. Everett Piper dealt with snowflakes demanding obeisance to political correctness in 2015. He penned a profound, eloquent, must-read open letter titled “This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!” And his institution isn’t a site of protests.

The lesson? While destructive, these leftist protest movements are childish and appeal to individuals who, maturity-wise, are children. Pandering to ill-behaved children only emboldens them — they need a firm hand.

Another lesson is that, as I just pointed out in “The Bloody Left: The Dark History of Untrue Believers,” leftists always eats their own useful idiots. Maximilien Robes­­pierre killed other French revolutionaries until French revolutionaries killed him. Leon Trotsky helped the Soviets achieve power, which they then used to kill Leon Trotsky. And whether it’s Tim Wolfe, Evergreen State College professor Bret Weinstein or someone else, useful idiots experience, but never seem to learn, how having yesterday’s leftist ideology can’t help you with today’s leftist inquisitors.

There also is an implicit warning here about tomorrow’s government. Ultimately, we can’t keep the alligators out of Washington without draining the campus swamp. Today’s education is tomorrow’s nation.  

Image: Screenshot of University of Missouri ad

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