The Ferguson Effect: USC to Vote on ‘Diversity’ Resolution

The “Ferguson effect” appears to be spreading from the University of Missouri to other campuses. On Tuesday, the University of Southern California’s student government will vote on a controversial campus resolution urging $100 million be spent on mandatory diversity classes to create an “inclusion climate” on campus.

In Missouri today, the president and chancellor of the University of Missouri’s flagship campus in Columbia resigned within mere hours of each other after the president, Tim Wolfe, was accused of having “white privilege.” by black student groups.

The protests, fueled by the Black Lives Matter movement, are described as stemming originally from outrage over the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last year. Though protestors at the time claimed Brown had raised his hands in surrender and said, “Don’t shoot,” subsequent forensic investigation and a Department of Justice inquiry refuted that story and confirmed that he had attacked the officer.

Protests were fueled by several reported racial incidents on campus. Demonstrators complained that Wolfe had not been quick enough to react–and Wolfe, apparently, agreed. One critic described Wolfe’s capitulation as an elder generation of liberals realizing “they must be sacrificed on the pagan altar of the New.”

The tense atmosphere of Missouri was in evidence at the most recent USC student government meeting on the diversity resolution, where, students were shouting “impeach now” at student Senator Jacob Ellenhorn and others who are opposed to it.

Tuesday’s vote at USC will seek to establish a scholarship fund to help “underrepresented” groups be better recognized by creating a slew of diversity classes on queer and race theory; requiring diversity training courses for students and faculty; and hiring a new dean of diversity. The vote was originally supposed to take place on October 27 but was delayed to November 10 due to the emotionally-charged atmosphere at the meeting. The resolution has also been rewritten to reflect a series of complaints that were made against it by students who are opposed to it. 

One of the changes states that the $100 million will not come from tuition increases, which was a major point of concern for many of the resolution’s opponents. (USC has hiked tuition by $2,000 annually this year alone.) The resolution now states “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the University of Southern California will implement the measures listed above, contingent on the necessary funds being supplied without raising student tuition or through the application of additional student fees.” It is not clear how the funds will be raised, however.

Breitbart News spoke with several students on campus recently who were both in favor of and opposed to the resolution. Graduate chemical engineering student Brian Moore said he is fine with the resolution as long as the $100 million is not coming from student tuition. He added that he thinks it is “unfair” to pass the resolution, however: “I don’t think many people know about it.”

It is likely the resolution will pass. 

This Saturday at a tailgate event, prior to a USC football game, students were reportedly protesting in favor of the diversity resolution–and against the university administration. One sign, reading “put your money where your mouth is,” was apparently directed at the school’s President, C.L. Max Nikias.

Ellenhorn told Breitbart News that he held a meeting last Tuesday, along with all of the other class senators and authors of the resolution, to discuss concerns before it was rewritten. He said when he expressed his concerns, including over the creation of diversity classes at the school, he was chastised.

They told me that my concerns were illegitimate and that they were just fear mongering because the resolution doesn’t say anything about money coming from tuition. And then they told me that I was being disrespectful for questioning the authors of the resolution because they have experience with that.

The vote will take place at 7 p.m. in the campus’s Ronald Tutor Center.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.


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