Tuesday, September 26, 2017
 
Univ. of Missouri Enrollment Plunges as Alumni Brand It “Berkeley of The Midwest”

WASHINGTON, D.C. Aug. 22 (DPI) – The University of Missouri has shuttered seven dormitories and seen undergraduate enrollment plunge about 30% since alumni and state residents began turning their backs on the school, following on-campus demonstrations two years ago by leftist activists, according to a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

The fallout from those October 2015 protests – highlighted by a communications professor calling for “some muscle” to intimidate a reporter – led to the resignations of both the school’s president and chancellor. Many in the state felt that the school coddled the protesters, whose demands for special treatment struck many as misplaced.

WSJ op-ed contributor Jillian Jay Melchior had to file a Freedom of Information request to access emails written by thousands of Missouri supporters who criticized the school for its supportive treatment of the protesters. According to Melchior:

The commotion began in October 2015, when student activists claiming that “racism lives here” sent administrators a lengthy list of demands. Among them: The president of the University of Missouri system should resign after delivering a handwritten apology acknowledging his “white male privilege”; the curriculum should include “comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion” training; and 10% of the faculty and staff should be black.

Two weeks later, a student announced he was going on a hunger strike, and the football team refused to practice or play until the university met the demands. As protesters occupied the quad, administrators bent over backward to accommodate them, even providing a power strip so they could charge phones and a generator so they could camp in comfort. A communications instructor, Melissa Click, appeared on viral video calling for “muscle” to remove a student reporter from the quad. By Nov. 9, both the president and the chancellor of Mizzou, as the flagship Columbia campus is known, had resigned.

Melchior pointed out that the alienation of supporters – alumni, parents, sports fans – is hardly limited to The University of Missouri, which had 25,000 undergraduates prior to the protests. “Private institutions like Yale and Middlebury aren’t covered by public-records laws, so they can conceal the backlash,” Melchior wrote. “But when public universities have released emails after giving in to campus radicals, they have consistently shown administrators face the same public outrage.”

The WSJ comment board attached to the op-ed was inundated with comments (nearly 1,200, twice the average for an Op-Ed). The most popular comment received more than 300  recommendations:

There is a quiet majority that doesn’t protest. Doesn’t rock the boat. Is not filled with rage and loathing for other views. We treat others with respect and would like the same in return. We do pay attention and when those men, women and institutions lose their collective minds (then) our time, attention, business and money go elsewhere. Pretty basic stuff.  Our universities should be teaching and modeling critical thinking, actual tolerance, encouraging debate, civil discourse.

 

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