March 2, 2016

WHO FIRED MELISSA CLICK? THE CUSTOMER BASE:

This assault on the First Amendment rights of a student journalist — by a professor of communications, no less — was the straw that broke the campus’s back. The people of Missouri launched a protest of their own against the school’s handling of the protests. In January, it was reported that student applications had dropped 5 percent in the three months following the protests. Compared with last year, the state’s flagship university has received 914 fewer applications. Worse, the Columbia campus is suffering a 7.7 percent drop in high-scoring SAT and ACT applicants, and out-of-state applications are down 25 percent from last year.

The loss of out-of-state students hits the school’s bottom line especially hard. UM currently charges in-state students an annual tuition of $9,433, while out-of-state students pay more than two and a half times that amount — $24,460.

And then the other shoe dropped: Last week, UM announced that new pledges and donations in December — a key month for university fundraising — fell $6 million, a decrease of roughly 31 percent. Only the Columbia branch, where the protests took place, suffered these losses. No other UM branch experienced declines.

Entirely coincidental and unrelated: New Mizzou boss gives student protesters tough-love message.

The man hired to help ease racial tensions at University of Missouri had tough love for the African-American activists who led fierce demonstrations there last fall, telling them late last week he has no intention of caving in to their demands.

Interim Vice Chancellor Chuck Henson, whose portfolio includes inclusion, diversity and equity, wrote a letter to Concerned Student 1950 Thursday, telling the group to stop making demands and work with the school to make things better.

“If you sincerely want better relationships, the time for demands, threats and arbitrary deadlines is over — you don’t need them,” Henson wrote.

Demands from the group, which takes its name from the 1950 admission of the school’s first black student, Gus Ridgel, include an “academic bankruptcy program” in which students could delete one bad semester’s grades from their records, according to The College Fix. Other demands include the hiring of more black faculty, $250,000 to expand the Black Cultural Center with a “Liberation House,” and a statue of civil rights activist Lloyd Gaines in the Carnahan Quadrangle.

Henson invited group members to meet him, but said many of the demands are neither realistic nor legal. Hiring faculty or staff or admitting minority students to meet quotas could violate state and federal law, he said.

Schools will have to start standing up to the crybullies because it’s bad for business. It would have been better, of course, if they’d done it all along out of principle.