One Price of Protest

This has been a period of upheaval on college campuses around America. Over the past year, it seemed as though every week we were reading about student groups making seemingly outrageous demands to college administrators. The administrators, in response, acquiesced to varying degrees, sometimes even resigning their positions in hopes of quelling student unrest.

I referenced this in an early 2016 post here, entitled Three Predictions for 2016. That’s where I wrote, in part, in my Prediction #2:

2. Political correctness on campus will reach the breaking point.

Eventually, enough will become enough. I predict that at some point this coming year, someone or some self-appointed group, will cross the line and challenge their college administrators in such a ludicrous manner that they will inject the entire realm of politically correct protests with a suicide serum.

Administrators across America have become paranoid about “offending” even the smallest segment of their student bodies …

While we’re still waiting for that “cross the line” moment, there has been at least one quantifiable consequence regarding college administrators’ paranoia and subsequent entertaining of outrageous student protest demands.

mizzou protests

Fox News notes:

Mizzou may pay price for campus protests as enrollment plunges

Safe spaces may become empty spaces at the University of Missouri, where officials acknowledged an expected sharp decline in enrollment next fall is due at least in part to protests that rocked the campus last fall.

The school is braced for a 25 percent drop in new students this coming fall, forcing the institution to enact painful budget cuts, as well as hiring and salary freezes.

“We do know that the events of last fall have had an effect on our application numbers; however, it’s difficult to provide a specific number as we do not have any hard data,” University of Missouri spokesman Christian Basi said in a statement to Foxnews.com.

Basi said there are other factors contributing to the decline, including fewer high school graduates in the region since 2010 and increased competition since Mizzou entered the SEC a few years ago.

“We are continuing to work with prospective students and their parents, answering any questions they might have and giving them information about MU’s current campus climate,” he said. “We’re looking forward to welcoming our new class in the fall.”

The decline in enrollment is estimated to be as much as 1,500 students this fall. The school is cutting its budget by 5 percent in an effort to make up two-thirds of the $32 million shortfall, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Further cuts may be possible if the state reduces monetary support. A budget approved last Thursday reduces funding for the University’s Columbia campus by $1 million and support for the systemwide administration by $7.6 million …

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You may be wondering why Mizzou is taking such a big hit. One crucial clue is contained in the sentence: “Former university president Tim Wolfe was forced to resign amid controversy surrounding race relations at the University of Missouri.” In case you forgot what was being demanded at Mizzou, here’s a refresher:

The Legion of Black Collegians and others (including football players) associated with the boycott at Missouri stemming from racial tension … published a list of demands they want met before things return to somewhat normalcy.

Here’s the list in its entirety:

“1. We demand that University of Missouri System President, Tim Wolfe, writes a hand-written apology to Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demonstrators and holds a press conference in the Mizzou Student Center reading the letter. In the letter and at the press conference, Tim Wolfe must acknowledge his white privilege, recognize that systems of oppression exits, and provide a verbal commitment to fulfilling Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demands. We want Tim Wolfe to admits his gross negligence, allowing his driver to hit one of the demonstrators, consenting to the physical violence of bystanders, and lastly refusing to intervene when Columbia Police Department used excessive force with demonstrators.

2. We demand the immediate removal of Tim Wolfe as UM system president. After his removal, a new amendment to thd UM system policies must be established to have all future UM system president and Chancellor positions be selected by a collective of students, staff, and faculty of diverse backgrounds.

3. We demand that the University of Missouri meets the Legion of Black Collegians’ demands that were presented in the 1969 for the betterment of the black community.

4. We demand that the University of Missouri creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, mandatory for all students, faculty, staff and administration. This curriculum must be vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board comprised of students, staff and faculty of color.

5. We demand that by the academic year 2017-18, the University of Missouri increases the percentage of black faculty and staff members campus-wide by 10 percent.

6. We demand that the University of Missouri composes a strategic 10-year plan on May, 1 2016 that will increase retention rates for marginalized students, sustain diversity curriculum and training, and promote a more safe and inclusive campus.

7. We demand that the University of Missouri increases funding and resources for the University of Missouri Counseling Center for the purpose of hiring additional mental health professionals, particularly those of color, boosting mental health outreach and programming across campus, increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility of the counseling center, and reducing lengthy wait times for prospective clients.

8. We demand that the University of Missouri increases funding, resources and personnel for the social justice centers on campus for the purpose of hiring additional professionals, particularly those of color, boosting outreach and programming across campus and increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility.”

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These demands are specific and (so far) have accomplished the departure of President Wolfe. The ongoing undertones of the upheaval on campus has obviously led to the drop in enrollment, as both students and parents apparently have questioned the sense in becoming a resident at a school that has so many active protests.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reported on the dropping enrollment a few days ago:

downward arrow

University of Missouri enrollment and budget picture ‘grim’ for fall, faculty leader says

A 23 percent decline in prospective student deposits for the fall semester is the most important figure forcing a 5 percent budget cut to general fund spending at the University of Missouri, the campus’ enrollment manager told the MU Faculty Council on Thursday.

Interim Vice Provost Barbara Rupp said 3,733 prospective freshmen had paid a $300 deposit for the fall as of Monday, down from 4,862 students at this time last year. It is usually possible, she said, to project fall enrollment based on the number of deposits received by this point …

Comments following this article reveal the deep divide that exists not only on campus but also in the Columbia community. Here’s a sampling:

– It is sad to see this happening to the University. However with CS1950 [see above Demand #1] threatening to “shut it down” if their demands are not met I can understand the hesitancy of parents and students to send their children here. This has been handled poorly from the get go. 

– What parent in their right mind would want to send their child to such a toxic environment? To hear MU’s leaders and faculty tell it, MU is guilty of 175 years of systemic racism and MU will deal with it by subjecting students to diversity training/re-education camps and discipline students suspected of committing a “micro-aggression” which someone “feels” is racist …

– You and your ilk have become the problem. Stop focusing on what you would have done (in hindsight) in October Those two leaders (republicans, BTW) that allowed this mess to fester and explode are long gone since NOVEMBER. The temporary leadership at MU took back the narrative and issued a public statement dismissing 1950’s “demands” TWO weeks ago (what Wolfe & Loftin SHOULD have done in Oct.) … When your Mid-Mo. friends and neighbors start losing their jobs, have less money to spend and Columbia goes into a malaise maybe then you’ll get it.

– Wolfe shot himself in the foot when he accused the black students of creating the problem that they were trying to bring to his attention. Even he recognized he had to go, so he left. Why his resignation has spawned all the vehement protests from our legislature, in the form of budget cuts, is what people should be mad about …

– It is a shame that such a minority of students, along with Pinkle and Click, can make this much damage to a highly rated major university …

– Terrorists groups and others with criminal intent often focus on more than shock and awe associated with blowing something up. There are other goals and a big one is inducing financial distress in an organization …

There are many more comments following this article that provide finer resolution as to what’s currently happening on the Mizzou campus. Read them all for a better picture.

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The Fox News article ends with a meaningful capstone statement: “… other schools in Missouri, including Missouri State, are seeing an increase in enrollment, which would indicate local students are considering options other than Mizzou.”

Cause and effect. Truth and consequences.

In my 2016 Prediction #2, above, I said:

Eventually, enough will become enough …

When enrollments drop, taking with them all those crucial tuition dollars, panic buttons start to get pressed. As with many issues, the answers can usually be found by following the money. In the case of the University of Missouri, their money trail is currently leading straight down the drain. For Mizzou’s leaders, maybe that will be when enough becomes enough.

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Be sure to check out all my college-related articles at College Confidential.