It was doubtful that the University of Missouri would stand up to a left-wing pressure campaign targeting its president, but when the football team joined the campaign, it was all over.
Missouri is an SEC school, where even a mediocre football program — Mizzou is 1-5 against the rest of the conference — has formidable financial and cultural power.
Instead, Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system, is out in one of the most parodic PC meltdowns on a college campus to date. The Missouri episode shows how the political climate on campus falls somewhere between a Tom Wolfe novel, a Monty Python skit, and the French Terror.
Nonetheless, the administration in general and Tim Wolfe in particular were held responsible. The list of supposed offenses was long (and very vague).
EDITORIAL : Abject Missouri
The Missouri Student Association complained that there wasn’t enough hand-holding after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson (when he attacked a police officer, but that’s always left out). “In the following months,” a statement whined, “our students were left stranded, forced to face an increase in tension and inequality with no systemic support.”
Once the grievance machinery got going, there was no right way for Tim Wolfe to respond.
To read the association’s indictment, you’d think that the University of Missouri exists in a small enclave of Klan-dominated, Reconstruction-era Mississippi: “The academic careers of our students are suffering. The mental health of our campus is under constant attack. Our students are being ignored. We have asked the University to create spaces of healing and it failed to do so.”
This is the insatiable voice of children who object at the insufficiency of their coddling. In another outrage, no one powders the bottoms of Mizzou students after they go potty.
Once the grievance machinery got going, there was no right way for Tim Wolfe to respond. When he ignored protesters at the school’s homecoming parade, he had to grovel and ask for forgiveness: “I am sorry, and my apology is long overdue.” When he tried to engage protesters at another event, they asked him what “systematic oppression” means and, when he ventured an answer, screeched at him that he was blaming blacks for their own oppression.An activist group came up with a list of demands. The first was that Wolfe write “a handwritten apology” to be read aloud at a press conference, and that it “must acknowledge his white male privilege.” The second demand was that he be fired. So they were merely demanding a rote confession of guilt before execution, a nice totalitarian touch.
Wolfe is lucky he got away with merely quitting, without having to agree to go through an arduous program of re-education. After decades of mockery, political correctness is stronger than ever on campus and has to strike fear into the hearts of every professor and administrator, who are potential victims no matter how much they kowtow to the children. It is an ongoing cultural revolution, and common sense and rationality are its natural enemies.
— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: [email protected]. © 2015 King Features Syndicate