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November 10, 2015

Comments

Do the facts matter?

There were two (Two!!!) racial incidents, one by a student who is on suspension and the other an anonymous drive by epithet. And, an anonymous swastika allegedly created out of feces. Of course the president should have resigned.

Here is my favorite demand:

IV. We demand that the University of Missouri creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, mandatory for all students, faculty, staff, and administration. This curriculum must be vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board comprised of students, staff, and faculty of color.

If enacted, surely this will bring people together. Nothing like compelled indoctrination imposed from a single perspective. Just imagine the open give and take this lovely exercise in liberal democracy would engender.

Meanwhile, at Yale:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-new-intolerance-of-student-activism-at-yale/414810/

At Mizzou, the student protesters have declared a "no press zone". Lovely.

When this kind of over-reactive, hyper-inflated demand and response scenario becomes the norm, who will be left to teach? To disagree?

And what happens when these children graduate? Can you imagine a private employer extending a job offer? Wouldn't these folks make great fellow employees?

These are the offspring of the Left. Will you discipline your own? Will you demand that dissent and disagreement be tolerated?

Count, you wrote about the children of Hitler yesterday. Who would you say these actual children belong to?

And, if the commentariat here does not consider these children of the Left, then whose children are they? And, regardless, will the Progressives here call for pushing back, for demanding reciprocal respect, etc?

Or will it just be more drivel about white privilege?

There were two (Two!!!) racial incidents, one by a student who is on suspension and the other an anonymous drive by epithet.

12 hour drive to Columbia, yet you feel sure you know exactly how many 'racial incidents' occurred. I'm sure that you have a clearer perspective than Gary Pinkel does.

Or will it just be more drivel about white privilege?
I thought the piece was interesting because of the question of where power lies. Sorry you felt it was yet another whiplash on your hyperthin skin...

12 hour drive to Columbia, yet you feel sure you know exactly how many 'racial incidents' occurred.

LJ, I've taken the time to check the facts. Have you? Sometimes they matter. Care to address the quoted demand? Care to document why this is justified, or is the simple fact that it fits your narrative enough? As for the coach, just because someone else enables this foolishness, doesn't make it any less foolish. You seriously expect a coach to fire his players? He's in it to win, not that Mizzou is doing much of that this year, and he isn't going to alienate his team.

As for thin-skinned, hmm? Let's see how others respond. Hopefully someone will respond substantively.

Nothing like compelled indoctrination imposed from a single perspective.

I don't necessarily agree with mandatory diversity curricula, but it's hyperbolic to refer to it as "indoctrination" and I'm not sure what makes it from a "single" perspective. It's sounds almost as though you think all people of color are the same when you write something like that.

So when lj writes this: I thought the piece was interesting because of the question of where power lies.

You have the nerve to write this: Hopefully someone will respond substantively.

after responding with something that boils down to "WAAAAHHH!!"

McTx: When this kind of over-reactive, hyper-inflated demand and response scenario becomes the norm, who will be left to teach? To disagree?

And what happens when these children graduate? Can you imagine a private employer extending a job offer? Wouldn't these folks make great fellow employees?

These are the offspring of the Left. Will you discipline your own? Will you demand that dissent and disagreement be tolerated?

Lighten up Francis.

The goings on at Mizzou are almost an exact parallel to what went on at my alma mater 20+ years ago, right down to the hunger strike, the rather grandiose demands in response to genuine grievances that look rather minor to outsiders, the jackassery of the college republicans, etc. etc. Admittedly the football team was not involved and the president didn't resign, but it is all very familiar.

And of course there was the widespread campus-based unrest in response to the Vietnam war 20+ years before that.

Somehow, things turned out okay with the "kids." Not sure why this will be any different.

And, if the commentariat here does not consider these children of the Left, then whose children are they?

America's?

If someone gets angry upset at something, I presume that there is something there.

If someone gets upset at someone else getting upset, I'm sure that there's something there, but probably not what the person who is getting upset thinks it is.

It's also hard to have a substantive discussion if we have to keep prying the pearls out of your hand McT...

Lighten up Francis.

A man was forced to quit his job. Among other things.

America's?

No. They are the Children of the Left. Intolerant, bigoted, spoiled, self-important, coddled and foolishly admired and enabled.

It is nothing for commenters here to go off on the right, on conservatives, on Republicans. The response is agreement and applause. When some quarter of the Left commits an excess, if that is even possible, and someone calls that out, the response is name calling, minimizing and side-stepping.

i see McTx took his wingnut buzzword and victimization supplements today!

I generally don't go off on generalized rants about "the right." It's terribly unproductive. I'd rather focus on specific ideas. I can't really defend "the left," either. I'm not entirely sure what it is, though I'm sure I must be part of it.

I'd like to see some unpacking of the bigotry and intolerance being displayed. I'm not saying it's not there, at least in some subset of the people involved. It happens. I'm just not sure that's the general thrust of what's going on. One thing it's okay to be intolerant of is intolerance, and I don't consider it bigotry to fight back against bigotry.

As far as general overreach is concerned, what Ugh said. It's a college campus. Ideas aren't as well tempered by maturity and perspective as one might like.

Besides all that, it is interesting how so much importance is placed on football on many college campuses and how that has turned out at this particular college at this particular time.


If someone gets angry upset at something, I presume that there is something there.

If someone gets upset at someone else getting upset, I'm sure that there's something there, but probably not what the person who is getting upset thinks it is.

Spectacular logic.

At this point, some drivel about white privilege would be welcome. It's as close to substantive as anyone is likely to get.

LJ, I've taken the time to check the facts. Have you? Sometimes they matter.

...and apparently sometimes they don't. This diatribe of put-up practitioner of due diligence in research and citation is so very, very incredibly rich coming from you, McK.

Care to address the quoted demand?

...because you'd never pick and chose what you respond to. It'd be intellectually dishonest to only respond to points that fit your narrative, and to silently abandon them if they're refuted.

Care to document why this is justified, or is the simple fact that it fits your narrative enough?

This line in particular is painful to read; it's plainly good enough for you. Remember a week or two ago when you were told you fast and loose evidentary standards would be thrown back in your face in the future? Allow me to be the first to explicitly throw them at you.

But let's keep your newfound concerns in mind going forward in this thread, shall we?

No. They are the Children of the Left. Intolerant, bigoted, spoiled, self-important, coddled and foolishly admired and enabled.

Wow, that didn't take long at all. Your evidence for this broad and sweeping accusation is... where, again? You certainly checked the facts, as sometimes they matter, so what's your basis for this claim? I'm sure there's more to it than the simply and undeniable fact that it fits very neatly into your narrative...

It is nothing for commenters here to go off on the right, on conservatives, on Republicans. The response is agreement and applause. When some quarter of the Left commits an excess, if that is even possible, and someone calls that out, the response is name calling, minimizing and side-stepping.

You might want to reflect upon this for a moment, along with the unfortunate observation that you can rarely comment on any thread where you disagree with the bulk of the commenters w/o including at least one broad and all-inclusive screed against "the left", full of unreferenced generalizations and assertions based on convenience of narrative rather than substance.

Seriously, McK. Glass houses. The myopic and blinkered lack of self-awareness being routinely put on display by someone as intelligent as you is frankly disheartening.

This is from McKinney's Atlantic link about the Yale situation:

“In your position as master,” one student says, “it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students who live in Silliman. You have not done that. By sending out that email, that goes against your position as master. Do you understand that?!”

“No,” he said, “I don’t agree with that.”

The student explodes, “Then why the fuck did you accept the position?! Who the fuck hired you?! You should step down! If that is what you think about being a master you should step down! It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here. You are not doing that!”

The Yale student appears to believe that creating an intellectual space and a home are at odds with one another. But the entire model of a residential college is premised on the notion that it’s worthwhile for students to reside in a campus home infused with intellectualism, even though creating it requires lavishing extraordinary resources on youngsters who are already among the world’s most advantaged. It is no accident that masters are drawn from the ranks of the faculty.

The student finally declares, “You should not sleep at night! You are disgusting!” Bear in mind that this is a student described by peers with phrases like, to cite one example, “I've never known her to be anything other than extremely kind, level-headed, and rational.” But her apparent embrace of an ideology that tends toward intolerance produce a very different set of behaviors.

In the face of hateful personal attacks like that, Nicholas Christakis listened and gave restrained, civil responses. He later magnanimously tweeted, “No one, especially no students exercising right to speech, should be judged just on basis of short video clip.” (He is right.) And he invited students who still disagreed with him, and with his wife, to continue the conversation at a brunch to be hosted in their campus home.

If I can represent "the left" here, I'd like to say that I disagree with the student's overblown response. It's utterly silly. The student is responding as though Christakis was condoning or encouraging students, say, to wear black face on Halloween or, worse yet, doing so, himself.

Suggesting that Yale students figure this stuff out for themselves rather than having top-down directives from administrators do it for them takes no position on what is or is not a socially acceptable Halloween costume and places no restriction on what opinion any student might have and express on a particular Halloween costume. It's not an argument about Halloween costumes at all. It's an argument about the best way to have an argument about Halloween costumes.

What it is certainly not is grounds for demands of resignation or cause to say someone is "disgusting." On the other hand, that specific language is coming from one student - a spectacularly wrong student - but just one, none the less.

I'm not sure how my opinion on this affects anyone's estimation of what "the left" thinks or how responsible it is for any it. Figuring that out would be like carrying a lot of water without a bucket ... or something.

Count, you wrote about the children of Hitler yesterday. Who would you say these actual children belong to?

Godwin in one comment. That must be some kind of blog-world land speed record.

Seriously, WTF.

Also:

These are the offspring of the Left. Will you discipline your own? Will you demand that dissent and disagreement be tolerated?

What is "left" about people objecting to racism?

In what possible sense is the Missouri football team "my own"?

What influence or authority do I have over the students and faculty at Missouri U that would entitle me to "discipline" them?

Some folks were called nigger and somebody painted a swastika with their own turds. Or, somebody's turds, anyway.

What "dissent and disagreement" are you trying to include here? The unheard, put-upon turd graffiti artists of America?

Is there some constituency who are against the protests who are being denied the ability to speak or act?

Apparently you find the protests overblown. You're entitled to your opinion. You have demonstrated that you are free to express it.

What's it to you if folks at Missouri want the President out? Apparently, a fairly large number of folks there, of all races, want him out.

It's their school, not mine and not yours.

On a personal note, I'm always amazed that people who can find it understandable that bands of free-lance vigilantes might take up arms against the feds because Cows Must Roam Free, cannot grasp the idea that black people are sick of eating shit sandwiches.

If the response in Missouri seems overblown, perhaps there's more to the story than "two (Two!!) racial incidents" and somebody finger-painting with their own poo.

let's pause for a brief message from noted leftist enforcer of speech and thought, Donald Trump:

Trump told a crowd in Springfield, Illinois, on Monday. "If I become president, we're all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you. That I can tell you."

so McTx, how about you get off your own high horse and go punish Donald Trump for being a fascist thought-policing asshole; and then how about you got punish the non-trivial segment of the right who support Trump because he says these things?

how about it?

I'll be responding over the course of today and tomorrow, McKT.

First, though, regarding my "baby Hitler" comment yesterday, my point is that, first, the question (in my own words): "If you knew an Austrian baby was going to grow up to be Hitler, would you kill that baby to save the world from adult Hitler's and the Third Reich's devastations," is vaguely entertaining in an open-ended, thought experiment kind of way, but quickly gets you nowhere unless burrowing into an endless maze of dead-end passageways is a hobby.

Of mine, as it happens, but there isn't the space or time here to take us on that journey and its endless, pointless permutations.

That's not to say that there weren't plenty of missed opportunities from the late 1920s on to kill adult Hitler, but the fact that hardly anyone tried by then only exposes the futility of thinking about snuffing out baby Hitler.

Second, asking a Presidential candidate the question is just plain stupid. It's juvenile.

Third, a Presidential candidate answering the question is just plain stupid, unless the candidate feels the desperation of having to double down on previous stupidities like "I eat nails for breakfast" to prove his tough-guy bonafides in the face of this unexpected onslaught by his primary opponents to the far Right.

I'm sure Jeb muttered to his associates after that question; "Whew, that could have been worse. They might have asked if I would have aborted fetal Hitler."

Fourth, Ted Cruz and his crew are glib fascists, but posting rules prevent me from speculating on how I would go back in time with a pillow to attend to baby Ted in his bassinet.

But I suppose to be even-handed, Hillary Clinton will have to be asked on Meet the Press if she would put baby Pol Pot (wasn't he a liberal?) out of his and the Cambodian people's misery, if she could go back in time.

I hope she would answer with the identical out loud laugh with which she answered the question "Were you home alone that night?" during the Benghazi deafings.

But I'm not hopeful.

Gary Pinkel supported the players boycott, but you, in your infinite wisdom, want to tell him it's a crock. I guess that's why Pinkel sucks at his job. Oh, wait..

Gary Robin Pinkel (born April 27, 1952) is a college football coach who currently is the head coach for the University of Missouri Tigers football team. From 1991 to 2000, he coached at the University of Toledo, winning a Mid-American Conference championship in 1995. He is the most winning coach in Toledo's history. He is also the most winning coach in the history of Missouri, a position that he has held since the 2001 season.

Maybe he supported them because he knew that which side his bread was buttered, and if a real man like you had been their coach, you would have knocked some sense into their heads. Hop in the car, it's only a 12 hour drive.

Care to address the quoted demand?
Sure, tell me what you charge for that kind of work and I'll charge you 50% of that. I'm not greedy. You are in a tax bracket that can afford it and I'm sure your accountant can figure out how to deduct it.

I said it was interesting because of the questions of who ultimately has power. I'm not there, I am not going to talk about racism on campus. If you want to rant about racism, it says a lot more about you than about anything I'm thinking.

And about 'the man who lost his job', his job was being a representative of the university. As the article said and I quoted:

In 2015, you cannot run a school while being blasé in the face of acts of racist harassment.

cf Donald Sterling. I know this is hard to understand, but the uni president's job is a PR job and if you hurt your brand, you are going to lose your job.

also

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2015/11/9/9695416/missouri-university-football-tim-wolfe-strike

Of course, he lives in Columbia and is probably biased. Thank god we have McT doing the research to tell us like it is. Or what everyone else has said.

To answer McT.'s request (the fruits of all of two minutes googling by someone who until today was unaware of the existence of the University...):
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/11/09/timeline_of_u_of_missouri_protests_and_president_resignation.html
For years, the University of Missouri has struggled with addressing race and diversity on campus. In 2001, the university conducted a survey to gauge campus-wide attitudes toward diversity. Based on those findings, a chief diversity officer was appointed in 2005, but efforts to include a required diversity course in the school’s curriculum stalled out in 2010 and still haven’t been implemented. "People tend to focus on this very obvious act of racism, as opposed to the more subvert acts of oppression which occur every day," former Four Front chairwoman ChaToyya Sewell told student newspaper The Maneater at the time.

Acts of oppression on campus and beyond have continued, including racist graffiti and fliers posted around campus, cotton balls spread in front of a black culture center (a reference to slaves picking cotton), and a newspaper column accusing black students of vandalism in Greek town and telling them to, “stay in their little worlds.” (Many instances took place in February, which is black history month.) In each case, officials have investigated and issued statements, but there has been little change…

What's remarkable to an outsider is the vast disparity between the makeup of the football team and the student body; the economic power of the athletes themselves (I think "only in America" might literally be true, here); and the enormous sums of money at stake in college sports...

...Pol Pot (wasn't he a liberal?)

No.

On another personal note, I'm always puzzled by the equation of dramatic protests and wild demands on the part of university communities with "the left".

Universities are somewhat rarified environments. Things that happen there don't really represent, or extrapolate to, the rest of the world.

To follow up on ugh's 9:26, when I was at college there was a huge protest and groundswell of outrage because there was an insufficient supply of toilet paper in the dorms.

Also, finals week was frequently disrupted by folks who hadn't hit the books calling in bomb threats.

A little perspective goes a long way.

What I find most interesting in the whole story is the fact that what finally pushed Wolfe out was the football team threatening to not play.

I understand that football is a Very Big Deal in parts of the country outside the liberal elite northeast where I live, but were I a resident of Missouri, I would be curious to know whether my educational tax dollars were funding a state college or an NFL farm system.

But, I'm not a resident of MO, so it ain't my hash to settle. Whatever floats their boat.

What's remarkable to an outsider is the vast disparity between the makeup of the football team and the student body; the economic power of the athletes themselves (I think "only in America" might literally be true, here); and the enormous sums of money at stake in college sports...

This. I think it was roughly 50% of the football team being Black, with only 7% of the student body. And then the enormous power of football on top of that. It's quite a combination, which is what the post was about. But there's nothing to see here, other than white butt-hurt, it seems.

Sorry. I should have written "White" rather than "white" - you know, out of fairness.

were I a resident of Missouri, I would be curious to know whether my educational tax dollars were funding a state college or an NFL farm system.

I don't pretend to understand the economics of the US college system, but isn't the football program helping fund the college (directly or indirectly) ?

Otherwise, what's the point ?

I don't pretend to understand the economics of the US college system, but isn't the football program helping fund the college (directly or indirectly) ?

Otherwise, what's the point ?

Whether the football program helps fund the college or vice versa depends on upon the college and what gets counted as revenue brought in by the football program. For example, post in LJ's link to sbnation states:

When the football team reached No. 1 in the BCS standings in 2007, it sparked an applications surge, one that has been more or less sustained ever since. In the fall of 2014, the school boasted its largest student body, freshman class, and yes, minority enrollment.

Not that the University is going to double it's actual enrollment and thus tuition revenue because of a surge in applicants, but more people applying to your school is generally thought of as a "good thing" (I would imagine) as you may be able to improve the general academic standing of the student body, among other things.

Also up in the air are alumni donations - does a successful football program bring in additional alumni donations that would not have otherwise been made and, how are any such funds used (e.g., are they plowed back into the football program, put into the university's general fund, used for "non-revenue" sports, etc.)?

The only thing I can say for certain is that the primary beneficiaries of big time state university college football are the coaches and athletic directors, the coach of the biggest state university football (or basketball) program generally being the highest paid public employee in that state, sometimes by several orders of magnitude.

what happens when these children graduate?

That's a really excellent question. Even aside from this particular incident. And regarding mosts major universities, not just Missouri.

Most of those football players are getting minimal college education.** They are there to play football (which, as noted, makes the college lots of money). Their classes are carefully selected to allow them to get (on paper) the grades that will keep them eligible to play. They are not selected to get them anything like the kind of education that would prepare them for life after graduation -- except for the tiny minority which make it into the NFL.

(Of course, many of them could not have gotten admitted to college in the first place, without the special criteria applied to football players. That is, they are ill-prepated to benefit from a college education, even if they were to try to seize the opportunity to get one.)

That being the case, any administrator who feels ill-done-by in a case like this need only look to the institution that they have created and maintained. You've sown the wind; no complaining when you reap the whirlwind.

** An exception may, in some cases, be made for the offensive linemen. Who are generally the brightest guys on the team . . . possibly because far fewer of them get special treeatment. (Note that this distinction continues all the way to the NFL.)

If you really want your head to spin, on top of the individual schools' sports finances, try to figure out how college sports conferences work. Oy vey!

Yeah, if the Mizzou poetry club would have thrown around THEIR muscle on this issue, we'd be looking at another Kent State.

I don't pretend to understand the economics of the US college system, but isn't the football program helping fund the college (directly or indirectly)

I would assume that the football program at Missouri is a net generator of revenue for the university.

Which would leave me with the same question: is the university a place for people to learn, or is it there to provide a farm system for professional sports?

Both objectives are legitimate, I'm just not sure I'd be equally interested in supporting both with public money.

I'm sure the American college athletics system makes sense to somebody, but I'm not a sports guy, so that somebody is not me.

Russell, it's not college sports in general. It's college football.

The college baseball teams, for example, function as (the first level of) professional baseball's farm system. But college baseball players don't get the free ride that college football players do.

When it comes to college sports, football is in a class by itself. Basketball comes closest, in a few places. But it's still far behind when it comes to special treatment.

Anyone who doubts that might want to consider why it is that a major state university football coach routinely gets paid far more than the university president does. (And far more than the state governor does. Far more than anybody on the state payroll does.)

It tells you what the state's voters value, I suppose. And what the university's alumni value. But that it makes any sense, given what the state universities are supposed to be for (see the Morrill Act for details; note that the University of Missouri is one)? Hard to fathom.

As an educator, let me just say how tired I am of the Culture Wars.

Not the actual substance of the core issues of fairness we are trying to grapple with at the heart of these disagreements, just the fractious amygdala-driven pseudo-tribal astro-turf bullsh*t.

When I was an undergrad in the 80s/90s, we used to have regular, epic battles in the college paper between the Palestinian students and the Jewish students. The rhetoric got pretty heated and would, at times, boil over into invective. But what I remember of the situation was that the students and faculty themselves would handle the situation and work to bring all parties back to a reasonable standard of community. It worked because campuses are small enough that our conflicts always came with faces and our opponents were always real people with whom we shared classes and friends.

I see the exact same thing happen on the campus where I teach on a regular basis. Except now, whenever the two sides do the same things that students did 25 years ago, the talk radio/blogosphere throws a blanket on the Outrage Burro and start riding it. Within a day the dialogue is being driven from the outside and every issue is framed as a wedge. The Administration, fearful for their brand and their bond rating, starts working to appease the Culture Warriors and defuse the situation, and the faculty and students are cut out of the discussion and dictated to.

Students and faculty have not really changed all that much. The problem is the voices from outside the campus community that don't care about the students, but only about their own selfish hobby horses.

They don't want resolution.

is the university a place for people to learn, or is it there to provide a farm system for professional sports?

coming to NC from a tech school in upstate NY, i had very little knowledge of how HUGE college sports are in other parts of the country.

but now i live within a half hour of UNC, Duke, and NC State, with Wake Forest, ECU, and a half-dozen other colleges an hour or so away. and it's HUGE. college football and basketball much bigger than pro sports, in this area. everyone goes to games, people fly their school flags year round, everybody knows who is a UNC fan vs an NC State fan (and everybody hates Duke). every spring, every employer in the area puts a TV in a conference room so people can watch the NCAA basketball tournament.

it's such a big part of the culture down here - much bigger than just a farm system. and i've never heard anyone actually wonder if the players are getting an education. that UNC got caught slipping players through the academics is rather more embarrassing than shocking - and a good source of amusement, for NC State fans.

Apparently, where the power resides to define unacceptable acts of racism upsets some people. Do white people get to decide this, or do black people get to decide this?

A change in this power relationship appears to lead to heated disagreement.

I am appalled.

For decades, black people decried race based lynchings. White people appeared to be unconcerned. When enough of them changed their minds on this matter, lynchings ceased.

Same for voting suppression, job discrimination, housing discrimination, using the dreaded 'n' word, etc.

White people are very comfortable with the fact that when enough of them "come around" that all will be well.

This they call "progress".

You will note in all the above examples, white people are seen as the ultimate deciders.

But when the power to effectively enforce these social and racial mores resides with the black community, white people like McKinney vociferously object.

This tells me a lot about white people and "white privilege".

I don't think it's hard to understand what's going on.

Some people did/said some racist stuff.

University administrators have minimal tools at their disposal to productively prevent this and everyone knows this.

Students demanded that the administration make conspicuous demonstrations of cultural affiliation with them.

The administration didn't.

So the administration had to be proclaimed problematic and replaced.

Because ultimately this is all about power, and social status.

It's not like the next guy will fix the problem. But he'll learn the right language and identify as being on the team of the people who just demonstrated that they will hurt him if he doesn't. And that will satisfy them.

That's all that's happening here. It's pathetic, but in ten years it won't matter. Every generation of students has a movement that is built on demonstrating it's own power by demanding things and forcing the university to provide them. And it's the demand and response that matters, the play act of declaring yourself David and slaying a nominated Goliath, not the content of the demand.

University administrators have minimal tools at their disposal to productively prevent this and everyone knows this...

'Everyone' is doing a whole load of work in that sentence.
Rather more than it's capable of.

Because ultimately this is all about power, and social status.

Is this a bad thing?

Every generation of students has a movement that is built on demonstrating it's own power by demanding things and forcing the university to provide them.

I more or less agree with this statement as a basic statement of fact, although I think you overstate the degree to which students succeed in "forcing" universities to do anything. In any case, I'm not sure why it's a bad thing.

Different groups of people have different interests, and they each advocate for their respective interests using whatever means are available to them.

If they had burned down buildings to make their point, I'd say that was coloring outside the lines. Refusing to play football, not so much.

What's unique in this case is the lever that was available to the football team (i.e., money), and the willingness of the university community overall to support them.

It's not clear to me why students and faculty seeking a voice in university governance is anything other than legitimate.

You, or any of us, might find the substance of what they (students and faculty) were concerned about to be no biggie.

I don't see that as our call to make. Assuming of course that you're not a Missouri student or faculty member.

I don't mind "seeking a voice" if you actually haven't got "a voice."

This is not that.

This is the pageantry of the empowering nature of making someone capitulate to a demand. The key is that this works no matter what the demand is.

This is the same psychology at work when your terrible boss makes you do something unpleasant, unnecessary, and ultimately pointless, because the act of "making you do a thing you don't want to" establishes the nature of your relationship. Specifically, him on top.

It's the same psychology as when some interest group declares some business "anti Christian" and harangues them into making pro Christian statements.

This isn't about removing someone who wasn't doing what he should. This is about removing someone, full stop, thereby establishing who has the power.

If you don't believe me now, watch over the next few weeks or months. Nothing will change except for an increase in symbolic statements of affinity with the protesters, and maybe some symbolic measures that everyone knows won't do anything. A bunch of people will reassess their relative status compared to each other, and this will in no way affect whether some random jerk anonymously writes racist graffiti. Because it can't. That was never on the table and everyone knows it.

This is not that.

I guess my response to that is "sez you".

Not necessarily "you're wrong", because I don't know that much about the history and context of life at Missouri U.

Maybe minorities at Missouri have a long history of taking crap off of other folks, and they're sick of it. Maybe the administration has a history of being idiotically ham-handed in dealing with student and faculty complaints.

I don't know, so I can't tell you.

But I'm not seeing anything in your comments to tell me that you know much more about it than I do.

Nothing will change except for an increase in symbolic statements of affinity with the protesters, and maybe some symbolic measures that everyone knows won't do anything.

This would not surprise me.

What that would tell us about the power relations between administration relative to students and faculty would, as far as I can tell, make a different point than the one you want to make.

That was never on the table and everyone knows it.

"That" is precisely the whole point, and attempts by those without power to cease to be subjected to "it" will always be "on the table" as far as they are concerned and for as long as they find it to be objectionable.

I find nothing troubling about "this".

Too soon for Mel Brooks?

I'm picturing Mel Brooks doing a film where the (successful) head football coach is brought in as university president. In order to make everything wonderful again.

Wonder if he would have to take a salary cut. Probably not; Mel Brooks' films generally ignore such grubby details.

This is about removing someone, full stop, thereby establishing who has the power.

that seems a bit like mind reading.

I more or less agree with this statement as a basic statement of fact, although I think you overstate the degree to which students succeed in "forcing" universities to do anything.

The chatter amongst the professorial portions of my FB feed tended to conclude that any forcing that happened was done by the boosters moreso than the athletes, let alone the students at large, and that assuming this was a reproducible show of force by the student-atheltes is a risky presumption to hold. Ofc, while they're more in tune with university politics in general, none of them are at MO, so...

russell, way up-thread: What is "left" about people objecting to racism?

Well, it's not "right", is it?

--TP

wj,

I'm picturing Mel Brooks doing a film where the (successful) head football coach is brought in as university president. In order to make everything wonderful again.

The Marx Brothers came within striking distance of this.

"What that would tell us about the power relations between administration relative to students and faculty would, as far as I can tell, make a different point than the one you want to make."

That's because you are

1. Engaged in the self indulgent fantasy that the university administration could have Done Something to solve racism on campus, and is only refusing to do so out of spite or apathy or racism.

2. Eager to erase the actual guy who lost his job.

In reality, nothing will happen because nothing CAN happen. I know you can beat your chest like a conservative pundit in 2004 and demand that the administration Show Leadership, but we all know, and I'm including you in this because I believe you know this as well, that there is no Show of Leadership that is going to stop things like anonymous graffiti.

The best the university can do is reassure angry students that the university is On Your Side by making conspicuous displays of affinity until the students direct their anger elsewhere.

Of course, if YOU have a solution that amounts to something other than Show Leadership, By Which I Mean Express My Anger For Me, Or I'll Hurt You, by all means.

if mckinneytx's monicker is a true indication of his city of residence he lives within a 90 minute drive of my house. i am a 7th or 8th generation native of this state. my ancestors migrated here in the late 1830s after the proclamation of the republic of texas from parts of georgia and tennessee. so far as my mother and i have found on census records, none of my ancestors ever owned a human being. i use all this as preface to the observation that he (is mct a he?) and i share a state, even more or less the same region of a state, i imagine that we are close to the same age (i am 54), and grew up listening to many of the same stories about texas, the south, and the southwest. yet i find his outlook almost incomprehensible, as if he had been raised in some terrible desert of the spirit far from me. i do not know what it is that accounts for his harsh, pinched, and implacable despise of all impulses broadminded and liberal but it cannot be accounted for on regional grounds. the only area where i find any common ground with him is in his derogation of the no press zone, a feature i find appallingly bush-like and unworthy of a progressive movement. i hold no rancor towards him but i do wish an intelligent individual such as he could find a better use of his powers than to spin the right wing talking points on the issues of the day.

While I'm not fully convinced that a university president can significantly decrease expressions of racism on campus if so inclined, I am convinced that one who isn't so incined definitely will not and, in effect, cannot.

On the no-press zone, I can't even fathom what that was supposed to accomplish, even in the most short-sightedly and narrowly self-interested way.

no-press zone n 1. A geometric shape that is an umpossibility in a free country such as the United State of America; 2. A location where heavy press machinery is forbidden, vizrowboats or hang gliders; 3. An absurd area delineated by spoiled liberal college students solely for the purpose of making themselves look silly; 4. An area on a television production set encompassing GOP candidates seeking the presidency. The boundaries of this zone are determined by the back stage curtain, the green rooms and side stages, and a line no less than 24 inches from their press interlocutors.

Back to the demand for a mandatory racial awareness and inclusion course, I think this will just continue to fuel the flames of exclusion and bigotry these naive kids already swim in.

Engaged in the self indulgent fantasy that the university administration could have Done Something to solve racism on campus

this is so silly.

there are innumerable things that can't be
solved" but which we try very hard to reduce: murder, rape, theft, lying, etc.. religions have prohibitions of these at their core; legal systems everywhere forbid them; all of human history, people have fought them. they still happen. and if a person who is in charge of an institution were to shrug-off ongoing murders, we'd probably ask them to resign. and no preening cynics would bat an eye about it.

racism is not murder.

but it still sucks. and it's something people are going to have to continue to fight, even if it's slow going, and even if people want to throw up their hands and say "oh noes, it can never be solved!"

Eager to erase the actual guy who lost his job.

That's Tim Wolfe, putting on a hard hat and carrying his lunch pail to work. I look forward to folks pointing out previous times where it has been important to defend that put-upon demographic of University Presidents losing their jobs.

Speaking of erasing
things like anonymous graffiti

Something else got erased here, but oh crap, I can't seem to put my finger on it.

I've got no idea what it is like on the Mizzou campus or in Missouri in general. The OP pulled out the following points
1) about what a Uni president can (or should I say can't) do
2) about the possibility of student activists and student athletes cooperating
3) how changes in the structure of universities have handed the power to these student athletes

I fail to see a word about racism there. However, I do know that in America's history, Missouri has been a flash point for racial relations, not only in the political history (Alec, What is 'The Missouri Compromise'?), but also for, believe it or not, sports (do the names Enos Slaughter and Jackie Robinson ring a bell?) However, this letter from a UM faculty suggests that it isn't just 2 events.

I have always been interested in the worldwide phenomenon of student protest and revolt and it is always very mundane things that trigger them. For Mai 68, the spark was expelling several students from the Sorbonne. In Japan, students occupied Todai were led by med students who didn't like the idea of working as an intern for 3 years after graduating let them to lead other students (this is why all med schools were separated from regular universities in the early 70's higher education reforms) In Thailand, 1973, we have this interesting echo:

In June 1973, several university students from Ramkhamhaeng University were expelled for publishing a satire on the ruling government. [related to the Thung Yai hunting scandal] The NSCT reacted by organising rallies to call for the reinstatement of the students. Subsequently, the government decided to close the universities which caused the rallies to grow in size, reaching 50,000. Eventually, the government relented in the end, with the students reinstated and the rector of the university forced to resign.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_Thai_popular_uprising

I will leave it to dr ngo to fill everyone in on the details, but suffice it to say, everyone better hope that it doesn't go the way the Thai one went...

When you put it like that, lj, I suddenly have flashbacks to the Great Vapors Epidemic of 2014 when Brendan Eich resigned. There's... more than a little tonal overlap between precisely how certain parties latched onto this as an event of particularly dire import...

When you put it like that, lj, I suddenly have flashbacks to the Great Vapors Epidemic of 2014 when Brendan Eich resigned. There's... more than a little tonal overlap between precisely how certain parties latched onto this as an event of particularly dire import...

Tim Wolfe lost the job of overseeing the education of thousands of students in Missouri because he couldn't define systemic oppression.

Systemic oppression is a big deal in he lives of many of his students. It's the root of the grinding misery caused by a grossly bloated system of municipal governments in St. Louis County, one that pays for its inefficient structure on the backs of the poor.

This is systemic oppression. It is oppression baked into the structure of government and society. Other examples of systemic oppression include the carceral culture, that confines the highest prison population in the world, and means the Afican American men now studying at the University of Missouri have a one in three chance of getting sent to prison in their lives, and in many cases losing their right to vote as a consequence.

It's OK to disagree about matters like this. But if you want a major role in education or really the delivery of any services to young Americans in the year of grace 2015, you need to have a basic clue about the challenges these students actually face.

Thank you Comrade Spragge. I'm sure that Mr. Wolfe never attended college and didn't grow up in the US. So you're right, he's clueless about all the injustice faced by the students.

And here we go again. Sigh. The left believing pure BS that never happened because it fits their social justice narrative. A feces swastika was never smeared on a wall by a white supremist. No more than a Christian would smear a feces cross on a wall. No more than Michael Brown was a gentle giant shot in the back with his hands up.

As said upstream, this is about mobs grabbing power and not content.

Thank you Comrade Spragge. I'm sure that Mr. Wolfe never attended college and didn't grow up in the US. So you're right, he's clueless about all the injustice faced by the students.

And here we go again. Sigh. The left believing pure BS that never happened because it fits their social justice narrative. A feces swastika was never smeared on a wall by a white supremist. No more than a Christian would smear a feces cross on a wall. No more than Michael Brown was a gentle giant shot in the back with his hands up.

As said upstream, this is about mobs grabbing power and not about the content that the social justice warriors want it to be.

Overreaching there, hoki. The feces swastika not being put up by a Nazi, might or might not be a good point. I could see it being done by a racist who wanted to be as upsetting as possible or it could be done by some dreaded lefty trying to be as upsetting as possible--either way the point would be to shock and not to express reference for a sacred symbol, which is where your feces cross analogy misses the point. And anyway, KKK types probably claim to be Christian and they burn crosses.

As for being born in the US and therefore understanding what it is like to be black in the US, that was funny.

I think from what I've read, which isn't that much, is that some left-leaning college students, especially at Yale, are behaving childishly, but am facsinated by the rightwing hysteria over campus radicals going too far, as though it heralds the end of Western civilization. Over at Rod Dreher' blog, where he is practically foaming at the mouth, he approvingly cites an anonymous reader who tells Rod that he used to be one of those horrid lefties himself, but has now come to his senses and plans to vote for Ben Carson. Maybe we are doomed.

Reverence, not reference for a sacred symbol. Not sure if that was auto-mistake or my own fingers missing the v.

this is about mobs grabbing power and not about the content that the social justice warriors want it to be

i just adore how people have fuck-all to do with the events on-campus feel comfortable to condescendingly explain just exactly what the people who are there mean and want, how they should behave and what it means if they don't.

it's like you're trying to prove that the students have do valid complaints while pretending that they don't.

Here is more right wing fantasy from another right wing rag: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/11/can-we-take-political-correctness-seriously-now.html

These truly are the children of the Left and the Left implicitly admits this, by and large, by dismissing those who push back, dismissing their own as 'kids will be kids', or 'nothing here folks, let's move along'.

These unguided missiles make it their business to demand either conformity or dismissal. That's a new and scary level of coercion.

Has anyone here who leans left gotten around to addressing demand No. 4. LJ and Cleek bravely deflected the challenge. Anyone else? I haven't read everything in depth having been out yesterday, most of today and tomorrow, so if you did, just refer me to your comment--thanks.

why haven't i commented on a demand that the college create a diversity curriculum? because it's such a banal and non-threatening demand that it didn't seem worth the time.

i get that you're all excited to use your new stock of catch-phrases and wingnut chaff-bombs, but i honestly have no idea what the fuck you're all upset about.

diversity classes? so what? i've had to take them at every job i've had for the last 15 years or so. it's just an hour of "Don't be a dick."

maybe that's too much to ask of some.

McT, I don't know where your list of demands are. The OP is about Missouri and was focussed around the power of the football team in having the president leave a lot more quickly than might have been the case. I'm not sure you'd get the same result with the Yale football team.

LJ: "McT, I don't know where your list of demands are."

I plan on stoutly ignoring McT's demands until he mobilizes a shutdown of a major university football team.

Pro tip: that would not include "Yale".

The treatment the Christakises have received at Yale is ridiculous. That doesn't mean there aren't legitimate grievances worthy of protest. The no-press zone at Mizzou is wrong-headed and silly. That doesn't mean there aren't legitimate grievances worthy of protest or that the president didn't need to go. Like cleek wrote, whether diversity classes will be much help or not is an open question in my mind, but they're hardly something worth getting worked up about either way.

If the term "pollitical correctness" weren't thrown around willy-nilly and loosely defined, at best, and used a cudgel to quash legitimate criticism, maybe it would be time to take it seriously.

To be honest, I don't know why the protests in MO are happening at such a large scale. To McK's point, they do seem to be out of proportion to the specific events that precipitated them - somebody called the student body president a nigger, somebody stood up at a theater rehearsal and spouted racist crap, somebody drew a swastika with poo.

LJ posted this comment to talk about the nature of the power relations that would enable a football team to cause the resignation of a university president. The discussion has, from the first comment on, zeroed in on the racial aspects.

Since (as far as I can tell) none of us here live in MO or attend the University thereof, none of us is in a position to provide any kind of insider's view of what's going on there. So, we're mostly speculating.

Speculating is fine, but it has to at least account for the phenomena.

IMO, McK's rants about "children of the left" makes no sense. The crucial constituencies we're talking about are a football team, the coach, and at least enough of the boosters to result in the president and chancellor resigning. The idea of any of those folks spending their free time reading essays from the Frankfurt school is just not persuasive.

Patrick's comments about it being purely an exercise in Sticking It To The Man fails for the same reason. However you construe a phrase like The Man, it's likely to include the coach and the boosters.

As far as the motivation for the protests, a history of racial tension coupled with an ineffective response from the administration makes more sense. Especially, as LJ notes, given the history of Missouri.

I'm not presenting that as The Reason, I'm simply pointing out that, as an explanation, it accounts for the things we know better than McK's or Patrick's.

It saves the phenomena, as the ancients would say. McK and Patrick's speculations do not.

As far as "the guy who lost his job", I'm sympathetic to Wolf and the chancellor in that regard, but people lose their jobs every f***king day. Both of those guys will land on their feet. Their children will not go hungry.

As far as "demand number 4", what cleek said.

I don't know what the media exclusion thing is about, it makes no sense to me and in fact it seems wrong.

For the record, every person "of the left" who I've seen comment about that, here or elsewhere, has made the same statement.

Apparently our children are not following the party line we have laid down.

Lord, can it get any more lame?

LJ--

McT, I don't know where your list of demands are.

Me, quoting those crazy, fun loving kids at Mizzou--

IV. We demand that the University of Missouri creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, mandatory for all students, faculty, staff, and administration. This curriculum must be vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board comprised of students, staff, and faculty of color.

Cleek, to his/her credit responded, in and amongst his/her standard invective, to indicate being on board with this and seeing it as no a big deal. That is a separate debate. Snarki, LJ, Navarro, NV, should demand No. IV be met?

Inquiring minds want to know?

And, since Cleek responded to me: if Trump gets elected and if he attempts to require everyone to say Merry Christmas, I will join you at the ramparts.

PS. As a total side note, I attended Mizzou for what might very generously and loosely be referred to as my freshman year, 1972-73. If it was a hotbed of racism, I missed it, but that doesn't mean much since I mostly played cards, dated when I could and drank beer/got high.

Here is more right wing fantasy from another right wing rag: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/11/can-we-take-political-correctness-seriously-now.html

For the record:

No, I do not take the demands for political correctness by undergrads at colleges and universities particularly seriously.

Whether the demands are made by left-wing or right-wing students.

When I say I "don't take them seriously" I don't mean they are without merit (from either side), I simply mean that I don't see that phenomenon as being typical or representative of any broader dynamic or events.

Colleges are wonderful and important places, but they have dynamics of their own, which don't really translate to the rest of the world.

These truly are the children of the Left and the Left implicitly admits this, by and large, by dismissing those who push back, dismissing their own as 'kids will be kids', or 'nothing here folks, let's move along'.

Speaking as a lefty, my response is not "kids will be kids", or "nothing here folks".

It's "I'm not sure exactly what's going on in MO". Because I'm not.

I doubt that you are, either.

That is a separate debate. Snarki, LJ, Navarro, NV, should demand No. IV be met?

Inquiring minds want to know?

OK, I'll bite.

If the stakeholders in governance at U Missouri want it to be met, then it should be met.

Beyond that, none of my business and none of yours either.

If the stakeholders in governance at U Missouri want it to be met, then it should be met.

Beyond that, none of my business and none of yours either.

This is kind of a cop out. Should student groups of any kind be able to demand this level of control over the curriculum ACROSS ALL DEPARTMENTS AND MANDATORY FOR EVERY STUDENT AND FACULTY MEMBER, vetted by a minority council? At Univ of MO or anywhere?

My answer to this ends with "and the horse they rode in on".

Lord, can it get any more lame?

Only if this thread turns into repeated demands that people discuss diversity curricula. Somehow, that seems to be the elephant in the room.

Perhaps the moral of this story should be: The consequences of blindly concentrating so much power into so few hands should not go unanticipated.

Should student groups of any kind be able to demand this level of control over the curriculum ACROSS ALL DEPARTMENTS AND MANDATORY FOR EVERY STUDENT AND FACULTY MEMBER, vetted by a minority council?

People can demand whatever they want.

Student groups, per se, generally don't have the clout to have their demands met.

That brings us back to LJ's original point, I think.

Has anyone here who leans left gotten around to addressing demand No. 4. LJ and Cleek bravely deflected the challenge. Anyone else? I haven't read everything in depth having been out yesterday, most of today and tomorrow, so if you did, just refer me to your comment--thanks.

Oh, we're allowed to demand commenters go back and address comments that we feel they nefariously glossed over for ideological reasons, and cry foul if they don't do so? Well, then, clear your calendar, McK, because you've got quite a backlog to clear...

These truly are the children of the Left and the Left implicitly admits this, by and large, by dismissing those who push back, dismissing their own as 'kids will be kids', or 'nothing here folks, let's move along'.

More Proof By Convenience of Narrative.

The Right implicitly admits that their entitled, naive, self-important, self-martyring, whinging, -ism-corrupted youths are Children of the Right by their wholesale denial of their existence (seriously, if you don't know about contemporary right-wing cults of victimhood and entitlement, you need to spend more time with Kids Today) and nigh-religious assertion that generational attitudes are a product of perfidious political ideology rather than collective cultural changes.

Wow, that was fun! I can see why you do that instead of actually presenting a coherent argument and reasoning from facts...

Snarki, LJ, Navarro, NV, should demand No. IV be met?

WRS.

If I were a stakeholder, I'd have different opinions than I do now, so it's pointless to discuss on how I - the non-stakeholder - feel about it. I could address it from the fantasy world of "if I were a stakeholder at MO but magically retained the beliefs, opinions, and personal history of a particular non-stakeholder", but that's frankly the sort of absurdist counterfactual that looks reasonable on the surface but doesn't withstand any sort of close scrutiny.

I'm not sure you'd get the same result with the Yale football team.

Perhaps. Could you say the same about their rugby team?

And again, WRS.

Students are free to make whatever demands they want. The administration typically takes those under consideration only when accompanied by enough furor to risk brand damage. The fact that MO administration capitulated not in the face of mass unrest but rather when faced with a threat to a revenue stream is the interesting matter here. Not that an overpaid administrator was pressured to resign - people are fired or pressured to quit for more suspect reasons than this every day, and it's taken as "business as usual" (if you want to have a conversation about this, we need to start with consideration of the glorious American custom of "at-will" employment). Not the specific grievances - I don't have enough information to have an informed opinion about the current goings-on at MO, and to my knowledge no one else here (McK notwithstanding) does either, so any discussion about specific context or policy is necessarily seen through the subjective lens of whatever secondary/tertiary/quaternary/etc. source we've gotten our incomplete information from. The part of this situation which is atypical was the sort of pressure applied, not the demands that were made, or even the real, perceived, or fabricated root causes for said demands.

Perhaps the moral of this story should be: The consequences of blindly concentrating so much power into so few hands should not go unanticipated.

This is actually an excellent point which deserves more than a little emphasis. Much of the "thought-policing" that is decried in regards to modern university campuses arises strictly from the actions of brand-protective administrators acting pre-emptively to perceived dangers to the university's reputation, or reactively to noisy grievances involving the same. The collegiate administrative class, while broadly corrupt, does not owe its corruption to any particularly liberal ideological tendencies - to the contrary. When administrative and academic decisions are being made with marketing as the primary consideration, bad things will happen, and it's frankly laughable to heap those outcomes at the doorstep of a mythical, ill-defined "the Left".

I thought you were a lawyer, McT, but your belief that demands have to be always take it or leave it suggests that you don't really understand how negotiation works.

Also, you don't seem to understand that colleges have these things called 'required courses'. That students want to be a part of the process is something that has been developing for at least the past 30 years. As inexplicable as it may seem, being told they have to do something without having any say in what they are told bothers students for some reason. Sorry they can't just get the hint and be like everyone else who realizes that they shouldn't have any say.

And to help you realize that demanding diversity training (which seems to knot your knickers) is not some sort of crime against education and humanity, I have to point out that plenty of universities have some sort of diversity requirements. Like
U Vermont
http://www.uvm.edu/provost/diversitycourse/
UCLA
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/04/13/ucla-faculty-approves-diversity-requirement
Cornell
https://cals.cornell.edu/academics/registrar/degree-requirements/human-diversity
Montana State University
http://www.montana.edu/core2/diversity.html

The fact that this surprises you so much indicates that you really don't have a clue what goes on at a university campus or how a university education works.

Maybe you could read this
http://www.washington.edu/diversity/appraisal-process/sec-ix-diversity-in-curriculum/

and explain where they get it wrong.

Or maybe explain why the army is doing it too
http://www.armydiversity.army.mil/document/Diversity_Roadmap.pdf

So should it be met? I would think so, it's not that huge a leap, and it would indicate some accomodation to the demands. From an put upon faculty members standpoint, I wouldn't like it much because it creates another administrative bureaucracy that needs to be fed, but those sorts of things are created all the time, so if you think that the university is doing something beyond the pale, you really need to talk to your accountant and see if you could afford to buy a clue.

Should student groups of any kind be able to demand this level of control over the curriculum ACROSS ALL DEPARTMENTS AND MANDATORY FOR EVERY STUDENT AND FACULTY MEMBER, vetted by a minority council? At Univ of MO or anywhere?

Simple question. Yes, they should be able to demand whatever they want, including free ice cream.

Is this demand reasonable, sensible, worthy of serious consideration? No. I think it's idiotic.

in and amongst his/her standard invective

go ahead and read your first contribution to this thread. see if you think you have any standing to complain about other peoples' "invective".

Nothing to see here, move along

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-university-of-missouri-tension-threats-20151111-story.html

I wish I had a revenue-producing football team to get my back.

I'd demand a 50% raise in salary, door-to-door livery service to and from work, and an artisanal pizza with a nice caesar salad and a bottle of Pelligrino delivered to my cubicle, daily, at 11:45 AM.

A guy can dream.

The online posts discovered on YikYak and other social media Tuesday threatened to "shoot every black person I see."

children of the left!

Back story.

There are a couple of points where I actually generally agree with Patrick.

1. An inclusiveness / race awareness program is not going to change the hearts and minds of bigots. Certainly not in a time frame that will be meaningful or useful to the current student body.

2. There's not a lot the university president and chancellor can do to address bigotry. At best, they can offer gestures.

Gestures have their uses, but unfortunately some folks just can't give up hating, resenting, and otherwise obsessing negatively about black skin.

I wish it was just a matter of waiting for the dead-enders to die off. It's not.

i'd say a diversity program it's more than a gesture.

we're talking about college kids here. they, unlike all of us oldies, aren't set in their ways. they're still learning about the world. college will be the first time some of them will see a person who isn't exactly like them; and it will be the first time even more of them will have to spend time interacting with a person who isn't exactly like them.

making them ponder the question "people are people so why should it that you and he should get along so awfully?" isn't a waste of time.

no, it's not going to solve racism. but it will make at least some of them think about racial issues, maybe for the first time ever. and it will contribute to the idea that the campus isn't a place where racism is cool.

it's not brainwashing. it's "You're not in South Haverbrook anymore. You're going to meet people who aren't like you. Some of you have already done this in your life; some of you haven't. Either way, you need to keep in mind that everyone around you is a person just like you are, etc.."

fair enough.

I like your view of things better than mine.

thanks cleek.

McK: should demand No. IV be met?

Inquiring minds want to know?

No, that demand should not be met. That doesn't mean, however, that the other demands that they have made do not have merit. As I'm sure you know, normal negotiating procedure is to demand more than you really want, so as to compromise down to what you really care about. (Of course, sometimes the other side folds up. But that's on them for being fools.)


Marty: Should student groups of any kind be able to demand this level of control over the curriculum ACROSS ALL DEPARTMENTS AND MANDATORY FOR EVERY STUDENT AND FACULTY MEMBER, vetted by a minority council?

I'm with Russell's 9:09 comment. The kids should be free to demand anything they want. Anything at all. I don't think that they should get most of their demands, but they should be free to make them. And to try to justify them.

McTx: dismissing their own as 'kids will be kids', or 'nothing here folks, let's move along'.

These unguided missiles make it their business to demand either conformity or dismissal. That's a new and scary level of coercion.

Oh FFS. There's nothing new about a demand of conformity or dismissal. If there's anything new about the situation at MO it's who's demanding conformity or dismissal (and I disagree that that's what they're demanding) and the results they achieved. Which again goes to point of LJ's post.

Moreover, on "kids will be kids," yes. A group of like-minded 18-22 year olds gets riled up about something (rightly or wrongly) and takes things to excess (and then backs of the very next day, at least on the "no media zone" thing, which was stupid and wrong). Film at 11.

Meanwhile, if you want to talk about new and scary things that might actually impact the entire country, how about that GOP debate last night?

On top of what cleek says, it's also about setting the tone of acceptable public conduct and behavior. What an organization tolerates it implicitly condones, and what it condones it implicitly encourages. In a perfect world this would not be true, but sadly it is more often than not. IMO and experience, ofc; this can certainly be debated.

Most bigoted individuals will probably hold true to their values (like russell, I'm somewhat cynical on this point), but if the prevailing community standards do not condone open expression of those attitudes, they'll become more subtle about them, and be less inclined to allow them in the public eye. This is obviously a mixed blessing, as it hides the problem rather than solving it, and I somewhat worry that the current generation of Kids Today has substantial portions who mistake concealing bigotry and making it more subtle/plausibly deniable for eliminating it (e.g., the "post-racial" crowd). But it's simply not true that organizational leadership - even hapless and supposedly impotent leadership like university administrators - cannot meaningfully effect the organizational climate, albeit less so than in a denser or more hierarchical organization. Indeed, isn't one of the recurring complaints when demonizing the cultural climate of universities how thoroughly it can be warped and manipulated? Or are we to believe this is something that only insidious left-wing students and faculty can effect?

also, the professor at the heart of the kick-the-reporter-out nonsense has quit her job.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/11/us/university-of-missouri-names-law-professor-to-diversity-post.html?_r=0

What an organization tolerates it implicitly condones, and what it condones it implicitly encourages.

Perhaps not the single dumbest thing I have ever seen in a comment, but maybe. What organization? The government, the administration of a public college? How much censorship should we condone? Is it now our contention that tolerance of any nonconforming view can be legitimately outlawed? AND SHOULD BE to keep from by implication encouraging it? What.The.F*CK?

I'm waiting to see if an actual stupid policy is implemented as a result of student protests.

In the meantime, the actual threats to academic freedom tend to come from donors and the administration which caves into them. See, for instance, Steven Salaita.

When I was young I got teased, quite a lot actually, because I had bright red hair. I would get very upset about it and the other kids, the bullies, thought that was great. My Dad asked me finally why I got upset when they teased me about my hair and, over time, I really couldn't give him an answer.

I always wonder when I hear the stories of bigots strewing cotton balls about why that upsets black people. I mean, its been generations since a black person picked cotton as a slave. What is the insult? The actual insult that they are upset about? Is there an implied physical threat?
I am not condoning the cotton ball strewing, those people are bullies and jerks, just like the kids that teased me for having red hair. But what, other than recognizing they are jerks, is the actual correct response from the administration? Or the minority community?

An inclusiveness / race awareness program is not going to change the hearts and minds of bigots. Certainly not in a time frame that will be meaningful or useful to the current student body.

Quite true. (Although perhaps not absolutely across the board.)

However, the point isn't to change the hearts and minds of those who are locked into bigotry. It is to try to broaden the horizons of those whose minds are still open to change. And, at most universities, that is still the bulk of the student body. To the extent that they have firm (as opposed to locked in) opinions, it is often a matter of simply never having been exposed to other points of view. And that kind of exposure is, IMHO, what college is all about.

No, of course not. However, I'd say that a claim that officially ignoring intentionally provocative behavior has no effect on it, let alone discourages it, would certainly be one of the dumbest things I've seen in a comment. Is that what you're claiming? I really don't see a lot of middleground between my statement and that one.

"The organization" in question would be the organization that the involved parties perceive themselves as jointly belonging to - in this case, the public university. And I didn't say censorship. That was your personal interpretation, and IMO a rather telling one. Is there no such thing as censuring in your world? Can authorities only have nothing to do with activities, or exercise total control over them? The only pressure an authority can apply is absolute hard pressure? Really? No influencing, no soft pressure? This, too, is up there in the running for dumbest things I've read in a comment, though I will allow that I may be misreading you.

(@Marty's 11:59)

I'm not sure your experience as a red head and the experience of American blacks are precisely commensurate.

That said, it's true, folks at Missouri U could decide to blow off expressions of racism and move on.

Or, not.

Not your choice, not mine, but theirs.

If you want to know why it's such a big deal to them, maybe you (or someone) should ask them.

If MO implements "diversity training", but calls it "don't be a jerkish *sshole training", could we all just calm down and agree that it might be a good idea?

I, for one, would never take such a thing; it would ruin my jerkish *sshole creds. Better to hang out and get drunk with Count.

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