by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Rich Lowry aims his latest National Review Online missive at Mizzou.
It was doubtful that the University of Missouri would stand up to a left-wing pressure campaign targeting its president, but when the football team joined the campaign, it was all over.
Missouri is an SEC school, where even a mediocre football program — Mizzou is 1-5 against the rest of the conference — has formidable financial and cultural power.
If anyone running the university had any guts, the school would have told the team, “Come back and talk to us when you can beat sad-sack Vanderbilt, or at least score more than three points against them.” Given the team’s performance, the proper rejoinder to its threatened boycott should have been, “How would anyone notice?”
Instead, Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system, is out in one of the most parodic PC meltdowns on a college campus to date. The Missouri episode shows how the political climate on campus falls somewhere between a Tom Wolfe novel, a Monty Python skit, and the French Terror.
A reasonable person will find it difficult to identify what Tim Wolfe stood accused of. The fact of the matter is that Missouri’s social-justice warriors forced him out simply because they could.
There were a few alleged racial incidents on campus, all involving racial slurs or symbols, including one where a drunken student verbally harassed a group of black students (he has been removed from campus, pending disciplinary procedures). Even if Missouri had a president straight out of an episode of Portlandia — the show lampooning exquisite progressive sensibilities — it would be beyond his power to prevent all rudeness on campus, especially drunken rudeness.
Nonetheless, the administration in general and Tim Wolfe in particular were held responsible. The list of supposed offenses was long (and very vague).