Following last year’s protests, the University of Missouri has seen a 20% decline in freshman enrollment for its incoming class, and is now operating with a $32 million deficit. As a result, the Interim Chancellor of the University has sent out a letter detailing their recovery strategy in response to the controversy.
The protests, which were aimed at University System President Tim Wolfe and the administration’s alleged mishandling of several racial incidents on campus, became the focus of several national news stories. According to the protesters, several racial incidents spanning across the last five years were ignored by the university, even though the movement’s admits that many of these incidents occurred off-campus. They collectively put together a list of demands, one of which was a call for Wolfe’s resignation.
Immediately following the resignation of both the University System President and Chancellor, a video of University of Missouri Professor Melissa Click calling for the physical removal of a student photographer on assignment for ESPN quickly spread around the web. Click was charged with misdemeanor assault as a result of her exchange with the photographer. Even though a letter signed by 100 faculty members in defense of Click was presented to the administration, she was ultimately terminated by the university on February 25th. She is currently suing the university claiming wrongful termination.
The protests came under significant criticism after its leaders were forced to admit that claims that the KKK had been sighted on campus were false. Payton Head, student government president, and a figurehead on the movement was forced to apologize in a statement where he said he “was sorry about the misinformation that [he had] shared through social media.” Major Brian Weimer of the university’s police department cleared any confusion by confirming that “there is no Ku Klux Klan on campus.”
Recently, an anonymous student at the University penned an open letter critical of the movement and its “eleven members”, claiming that the protests have jeopardized the reputation of the University without legitimate purpose. The movement claims to represent the voices of “every Black student admitted to the University of Missouri since , however they have “failed and continue to fail to find other points of view within the group of people [they] supposedly represent.
Although the protesters may view these repercussions for the University as a victory for their movement, many current and former students are not pleased. The open letter accused the movement of “indiscriminately [harming] thousands of current and former Mizzou students.” by “[damaging] the value of [their] degrees and [hurting their] career prospects.
“You represent the worst traits of our generation. Entitled, spoiled, unrealistic, and over-sensitive. You demand respect when you’ve done nothing to earn that respect. You also represent the worst of the politically correct culture across the United States. You demand safe spaces, trigger warnings, yet use threats and name-calling against those who oppose you in an effort to silence them, and you would rather abolish the First Amendment than engage in true debate.”
Tom Ciccotta writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta .