It is encouraging to see a number of universities experiencing the consequences or their total abdication of their duty to provide an actual education in exchange for the tens of thousands of dollars they charge for tuition, room and board, books, etc. For decades, the academy has moved inexorably leftward until it is nearly entirely staffed with people that make Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton look like Republicans. It is encouraging because it indicates America is still a nation at least partially based on productivity and reality rather than navel-gazing nihilism.
It should be unsurprising that the fruits of their progressive labor–their precious snowflake students–should be insufferably entitled, self-absorbed, and entirely irrational revolutionaries that have turned on those that have worked so long to produce precisely that kind of ingratitude and hatred for the productive and normal, in the little barbarians. At least one teacher at The University of Missouri–Mizzou–one of the worst examples of that kind of idiocy, is apparently beginning to realize that the alligator may eat people like him last, but they always eat them. Thomas Lambert writes for the James G Martin Center:
The University of Missouri, where I teach and which I dearly love, is in crisis. Freshman enrollment at the university’s Columbia campus (Mizzou) is down by a whopping 35% from two years ago. Missouri’s governor and legislature slashed Mizzou’s state appropriation by $22 million this year.
Administrators have responded by cutting Mizzou’s operating budget by 12% and laying off 307 employees (474 across the entire University of Missouri system). They’ve also closed seven dormitories to students, instead renting out the rooms for football games and special events like the recent solar eclipse.
Suffice it to say, morale on campus is low.
I’m almost tempted to laugh, but not quite yet. Lambert seems to be on to something:
The primary culprit, of course, is Mizzou’s reaction to the student protests of 2015. In November of that year, a group of students, justifiably angered by three racist incidents on the 35,000-student Columbia campus, presented administrators with a number of unreasonable demands. Among other things, they insisted that the president of the 77,000-student University of Missouri system publicly acknowledge his ‘white male privilege’ and resign his post and that the university adopt patently unconstitutional racial quotas for faculty and staff.
Perhaps he should have given himself a good spanking on the steps of the administration building and put himself on double secret probation? The “unreasonable” demands of which Lambert speaks were of that quality: insane.
Instead of leading like compassionate, wise adults—joining the protestors’ rightful condemnation of racist conduct but working to convince them that their demands were unreasonable—many Mizzou officials either succumbed to or actively perpetuated the frenzy.
Mizzou’s football coach publicly supported a player boycott by the members of his team. The chancellor encouraged the protestors by allowing them to erect a tent city on a university quad and providing them with electricity generators. One administrator bullied a student reporter and attempted to prevent him from documenting the protests. A professor actually battered a reporter and famously called for “some muscle” to remove him from the protestors’ camp.
As Lambert notes, Missouri’s taxpaying citizens were so unimpressed they essentially rushed the legislature’s castle brandishing pitchforks and torches. Their disgust was so palpable, even politicians couldn’t ignore it and millions were pulled from Mizzou’s budget. What really hurt, however, is the innumerable parents that decided they weren’t going to pay to send their children to an asylum run by the inmates. They expect, reasonably, adults to be in charge, and the limp wristed invertebrates in charge of Mizzou clearly did not meet that definition or expectation.
Watching Mizzou’s leadership abdicate to the loudest voices from the radical left, most Missourians were aghast. Many decided their children, donations, and tax dollars should go elsewhere. Hence, Mizzou’s current situation.
I should also note, before getting to the primary point of Lambert’s article–it’s not what you think, gentle readers–that Lambert apparently remains part of the problem. His suggestion that administrators should show wisdom and compassion by “working to convince [racist, anarchic students] that their demands were unreasonable,” indicates he isn’t quite getting it. Adults would have had the anarchic little toadies arrested and expelled. If college age students can’t tell an insane and entirely inappropriate demand from an appropriate, timely and serious suggestion, they’re entirely beyond being convinced by compassion or reason. The first duty of any educational institution is to establish and maintain an atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning. When that duty is forgotten, learning becomes difficult at best, and often, impossible. Political indoctrination and chaos usually takes its place, thus Mizzou lost 35% of its enrollment in just two years. Most private institutions losing those numbers would go bankrupt, but the public treasury is bottomless, until progressives run out of other people’s money.
On to the actual issue: gun control.
In 2014, Missourians voted 61% to 39% to amend the state constitution to provide for ‘strict scrutiny’ of firearms restrictions. The upshot is that any state restriction on firearm possession must be ‘narrowly tailored’ to secure a ‘compelling state interest.
Strict scrutiny is the highest level of judicial analysis. It tends to be reserved for fundamental, inalienable rights, and is most restrictive of governmental whims, and most supportive of the fundamental rights of the people. “Because we want to and we have the power,” isn’t sufficient.
In light of this constitutional amendment, a law professor at Mizzou, Royce Barondes, has challenged the University of Missouri’s absolute firearms ban. Professor Barondes observes that the ban forbids his bringing a gun onto campus, even if he leaves it locked in the glove compartment or trunk of his car. He is thus precluded from possessing a handgun while he’s on his way to and from work. So broad a restriction, he maintains, is not narrowly tailored to secure a compelling state interest.
“The issue presented in Professor Barondes’ complaint is straightforward: The university administration believes its gun ban is consistent with the Missouri Constitution; Professor Barondes believes it isn’t. The appropriate strategy for the cash-strapped university would be to address the merits of Barondes’ non-frivolous claim, allow the court to determine who’s right, and, if unsuccessful, appeal.
That is not the tack the university administration has taken. Instead, it has asserted three meritless counterclaims against Professor Barondes and has sought attorney fees that could drive him into bankruptcy.
By all means, take the link and read the entire article. It reeks of the kind of arrogant entitlement and utter disdain for the rule of law and the rights of individuals–particularly those seeking to uphold state and federal constitutions–that is the hallmark of progressivism.
The message from University of Missouri officials seems clear: Do not challenge us, or we will bankrupt you. We will not allow constitutional niceties to disrupt our agenda. We cannot be expected to comply with silly rules put in place by the unwashed masses of Missouri voters.
Obviously not. They’re not progressive academics. What could they possibly know? Their relatives are probably farm animals, and they voted for Trump. Lambert concludes:
Such an approach is morally wrong, terrible P.R. for my beloved Mizzou, and certain to further widen the gap between the university and the people of the state.
And they would care about this, Mr. Lambert, because?