At long last, someone at the University of Missouri appears to have grown a spine. After months of campus turmoil caused by black student activists calling themselves Concerned Student 1950, the result of which was the ousting of university president Timothy Wolfe, the school’s chief diversity officer has had enough of the foolishness. In a letter released last week, Chuck Henson said the activists needed to come back to reality.
“If you sincerely want better relationships,” Henson wrote, “the time for demands, threats, and arbitrary deadlines is over – you don’t need them.”
Henson’s letter comes on the heels of a new round of demands from Concerned Student 1950. In the list, the activists told MU officials they wanted, among others things, more black staff members at the university, a statue of civil rights activist Lloyd Gaines, and something called an academic bankruptcy program. That program would permit non-white students to toss out their grades for an entire semester under certain circumstances.
“Things like hiring faculty or staff, or admitting students based on protected characteristics to meet a numerical target, will not and cannot be done,” Henson wrote. “It is against state and federal law. It also is a bad model for a sustainable community.”
It’s about time that some basic common sense was allowed back into this debate. The protests at Mizzou infected several other college campuses this year, leading to the forced resignations of many academics who had done nothing wrong. In the wake of the hubbub, applications and donations have plummeted. Whether that’s because parents don’t want their kids to go to a school that permits this nonsense or because they perceive the school as a racist institution, who knows. If it’s the latter, though, that’s pretty sad.
At the Republican debate last week, Ben Carson (in reference to LGBT issues) said that Americans should have equal rights, but that no one should have extra rights. And that’s exactly what these protests are about – providing black students with extra rights in order to correct vague notions of systemic racism. But as tempting as it might be to blame the students, the real blame is on the educators themselves. What are these young men and women learning in class? Could it be that liberal professors are fanning the flames? Hmm.
Since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, those who speak for social justice have been given the overwhelming benefit of the doubt. That’s all well and good, but the truth should come before skin color. Just because you’re black doesn’t mean you’re right. Once we can accept that simple and obvious fact, we can begin working together to make sure everyone gets the same opportunities.