The last few days have been challenging for the man who was the figurehead of the University of Missouri. I say “figurehead” because I’m not certain he had much power, based on what the curators have decided to do:
Missouri’s Board of Curators also announced Monday it would appoint a systemwide chief diversity, inclusion and equity officer, offer additional support for students and staff who experience discrimination and create a diversity and inclusion task force. It also mandated diversity, inclusion and equity training for faculty, staff and future students at the Columbia campus.
“Diversity, inclusion, and equity.” One wonders if anyone realizes that this person will be the DIE Officer?
It would seem that President Tim Wolfe was penalized for 1) failure to wholeheartedly support those who held up Michael Brown’s demise as a cause célèbre, 2) a failure to see certain incidents on campus as being indicative of systemic racism, and 3) a failure to understand that if a person goes on a hunger strike, one is supposed to give in to those demands, because, well, the children.
Leaving aside such failures (or perceived failures–it matters little now, seeing that Mr. Wolfe is already at the door), does not this whole kerfuffle really come down money? After all, when it comes to removing the president under this set of circumstances, cui bono?
According to this article on recent earnings and expenses, the U of M athletic program brought in $83.7 million in 2014. That’s quite a bit of coin, even for Mizzou.
One might think that the job of the curators was to support the mission of the University system:
Our distinct mission, as Missouri’s only state-supported member of the Association of American Universities, is to provide all Missourians the benefits of a world-class research university. We are stewards and builders of a priceless state resource, a unique physical infrastructure and scholarly environment in which our tightly interlocked missions of teaching, research, service and economic development work together on behalf of all citizens. Students work side by side with some of the world’s best faculty to advance the arts and humanities, the sciences and the professions. Scholarship and teaching are daily driven by a commitment to public service — the obligation to produce and disseminate knowledge that will improve the quality of life in the state, the nation and the world.
One would probably be wrong.
The job of the curators is to keep the University in the black. And, if the school attracts too much negative attention, well, ticket sales are going to fall off, recruiters will have a hard time filling slots with excellent athletes, and the University’s overall rankings and ratings will drop (at least in athletic terms). In the light of such dire possibilities, the curators determined that a bold move in the direction of “diversity, inclusion and equity” would trump a more traditional approach which would seek to uphold an “obligation to produce and disseminate knowledge will will improve the quality of life in the state, the nation and the world.”
In simple terms, the curators must needs destroy the University of Missouri in order to save it.
But the University of Missouri is not besieged by the Ku Klux Klan. It is besieged by hysteria. Hysteria needs to be stood up to, not cravenly fed with acquiescence.