Hey there — just wondering if y’all in the Castle are paying attention to the shenanigans going on in some of this nation’s finest institutions of higher education? [Hint- nothing to do with imparting knowledge.]
- Yale students had a hissy-fit about a Halloween costumes they might find offensive, and then further embarrassed themselves by attempting to stifle an event focused on free speech. One young woman screamed the f-word at a faculty member, seeming not to understand that the word is pretty much universally considered massively offensive. Apparently, Yale students are differently-abled when it comes to recognizing irony.
- Vanderbilt students are agitating for a political science professor to be fired because, following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, she wrote an opinion piece critical of radical Islam. Apparently, today’s Vanderbilt students are unable to grasp the meaning of the word “ opinion.” Back when I attended dear, old alma mater, this was not the case.
- Meanwhile, at Ithaca, Claremont-McKenna, University of Minnesota, among others, the youths are holding protests and chanting stuff along the lines of: “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Prof-I-Don’t-Like has got to go!”
- And then there’s the University of Missouri, where the chancellor & president have both resigned following …the football team’s threat that they wouldn’t play on Saturday.
Actually, that’s an over simplification of the Missouri story, which began after the student body president, who is black, reported that someone shouted a racial slur at him. A black grad student started a hunger strike to draw attention, students camped out in protest and black members of the football team refused to participate in any football activities. And much more.
Shouting a racial slur at anyone is, of course, a completely crass and boorish thing to do, but to my knowledge, no one accused the now-former-president Wolfe of shouting the slur. It seems that students felt he didn’t take the charge seriously enough, and subsequently demanded that he sign a statement confessing his “white male privilege” and then resign. Wolfe apologized and resigned, giving every indication that he was suffering from a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome, meaning he must have felt an affinity with his accusers.
Now, had Your Czarness’ humble correspondent been president of Missou, I would have made the following statement on Monday:
|To: Students, Professors and other members of the University
Re: calls for my resignation following a confession of “white male privilege”
Our Student Body President was rightly offended when someone shouted a racial slur at him. This was, of course, a completely crass and boorish thing to do, but neither I nor any other member of the University can prevent a person from saying stupid things. Please understand this—using racial slurs says far more about the speaker than about the person targeted. Sometimes people don’t think about the feelings of others; sometimes they simply open mouth and insert foot.
But I am sad to say that Missou’s administration, like that at most other colleges and universities these days, has indeed contributed to the current atmosphere of anger on campus. We are guilty of leading you all to believe that you have a special right to go through life without experiencing unpleasantness. We meant well, but this was an impossible mirage. We have contributed to this mirage, for example, by instituting “speech codes.” However, today that ends. A university must have freedom of expression and inquiry, otherwise it does nothing to advance its students’ ability to discern good from evil. While threats of violence will be continue to be referred to law enforcement, crass, boorish, impolite, tacky or unpleasant speech will be handled by the individuals present. Therefore, if someone uses language that offends you, speak up. Call them out. Tell them that they’ve offended you, and why. Demand an apology. Be loud and proud. You can do this!!! You’ll feel better, AND you’ll have the satisfaction of handling your own problems. Double Win!
Since we have an exceptionally bright population on campus, I suspect many of you probably skipped kindergarten. Which is a pity, because had you gone to the same kind of kindergarten that I did, you would have learned the following: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. [Lather. Rinse. REPEAT.] And as long as I’m conducting remedial education, by the way, no one, no one at all, likes a tattle tail. It was true in kindergarten, and Missou students, you’ll find it to be true in the workplace. Should you ever get there.
The football team has also made news this week, although sadly not for any exploits on the field or in the classroom. I understand that many members of the football team wished to support the protesters, and that is a noble impulse. They then chose to abstain from all football activities, such as practices and games, despite the fact that Missou has a long-scheduled game this Sat. Where I’m from, we honor our commitments, and so Missou will honor its commitment to all of you football players, even if you choose not to do the same. Your scholarships will be honored through the end of this semester regardless of your actions. I respect the Missou varsity players’ wish to show solidarity with causes about which they feel strongly. But I also know that Missou has an obligation to play a game on Saturday. Therefore, I have instructed the athletics director to ensure that Monday’s practice will also be an open try-out for any and all positions. Should “varsity” players wish to abstain from practice, that is their right. However, I encourage members of the inter-mural and inter-fraternity squads to consider that there might be open positions for spots on the Tigers’ team. By the way, I hear that the Sigma Nu’s have a guy who was a great high school QB. Open try-outs are the ultimate meritocracy, and I think Missou football might benefit in the long run. After all, the current team couldn’t even beat Vandy [JAB’s alma mater!], but pity only goes so far.
Finally, I would like to address my “white male privilege.” I’m “guilty” on all counts. I’m white, I’m male, and have I ever had a privileged life! I’m so lucky, or privileged if you prefer, that it humbles me to think of it. I am grateful that I was born when I was, where I was, and to whom I was. We are all so lucky to live in a place, the USA, where we have liberties and freedoms of which people in other places can only dream. Why do think people risk their lives, leave their homes, and attempt to come here???? Because they would have better possibilities here than in Tegulchigalpa or Guadalahara. Furthermore, we live at a time when diseases that ravaged past generations, such as small pox and polio, are either eradicated or close to it. When we flip a switch, the lights come on. When we want water, we turn a tap rather draw it from a well like my grandparents, or like so many today in other countries. My parents reared me to work hard and strive to succeed, but they never filled my head with the silly notion that I “deserved” anything from the larger world. It is also my privilege to serve as president of the University of Missouri, and I have an obligation to every citizen of this state to use their tax dollars as best I can and to do my best to provide excellent education to ALL those who enroll.
I Remain Sincerely, Your President, Who Won’t Be Resigning
PS: As long as I’m on the subject of remedial education, I will be calling on the faculty Senate to add a graduation requirement for all students. It appears that our students are woefully unaware of the forced-confessions before execution that were a loathsome feature Stalin’s show-trials and the purges of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. This needs fix in’ and quick.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.