Eric Owens reports for the Daily Caller that the University of Missouri had a tool in place that could have helped the school steer clear of its recent national controversy.

An ad hoc committee at the University of Missouri has concluded that the school could have avoided its still-reverberating nationwide humiliation stemming from last semester’s eruption of Black Lives Matter protests if officials would have enforced a policy that has been in existence for decades.

The November protests attracted national attention after graduate student Jonathan Butler, the son of a millionaire railroad executive, went on a hunger strike and convinced 32 Mizzou football players to boycott all team activities. There were false reports of people wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods. There was a poop swastika. The protest also included a now-fired professor, Melissa Click, who threatened a student cameraman with mob violence. …

A few hundred aggressive and enthusiastic demonstrators occupied a highly visible quad for about a week. They camped in tents and mobilized marches from this occupied space, which served as a hub for fomenting unrest.

Turns out, Mizzou has a 67-year-old policy that explicitly prevents students from camping out on campus overnight.

The rule, which has been on the books since 1949, doesn’t specifically mention tents, but it does prohibit the creation of any unapproved “bedroom or living room” on campus, reports The Kansas City Star.

The intent of the 1949 policy was — and is — to make sure that students are sleeping under a safe, permanent roof.

Mizzou “has had a prohibition on overnight sleeping on campus for years,” committee member Bob Jerry, a law professor, told the Star. “There is a health and safety concern.”

Had taxpayer-funded school officials enforced the policy, the ad hoc committee has concluded, the protest likely would never have gained its incredible momentum.