MY SECRET PLAN TO END THE HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE BY USING INSIDERS TO MAKE HIGHER EDUCATION LOOK RIDICULOUS CONTINUES TO ADVANCE: Tim Wolfe Resigns as Missouri President Amid Protests, Boycott by Football Team.
UPDATE: University of Missouri President Just Resigned: What It Means for the Campus Speech Wars; No competent educator can give students the false sense of security they desire.
What were these racist incidents? Someone shouted a slur at the campus’s black student government president. Someone smeared feces in the shape of a swastika on the wall of a residence hall. (In a letter announcing his hunger strike, student Jonathan Butler also cited “graduate students being robbed of their health insurance, and Planned Parenthood services being stripped from campus” among the reasons for Wolfe to resign, although these concerns don’t really strike me as being tied to race.)
I can understand why students were upset about these things. And if they want to call on Wolfe to do more, they are well within their rights. Maybe Wolfe was doing a bad job, although it’s difficult to say what he should have done differently; is there any policy a university could adopt that would prevent idiots from occasionally yelling immature, insulting things at people on the street?
This controversy, as with the current upheaval at Yale, suggests aggrieved students most desperately want administrators to acknowledge their pain and tell them they have a right to live free of emotional turmoil. But no competent administrator can provide them with this false sense of security, since the proper role of a university education is to help students overcome (rather than sidestep) challenges.
In any case, Wolfe’s resignation also means that hyper-offended students are not as powerless as skeptics of the campus speech wars claim they are. I’m often told by these skeptics that the actions of outraged students are harmless because they never amount to anything, but this development at Missori is a significant contrary example.
I would be disheartened, but not at all surprised, to see more professors and administrators driven from campus for the crime of failing to erect suitable safe spaces.
Just making it easier for President Cruz to abolish student loans. And if you don’t think that this will hurt Mizzou at budget time with the legislature, well . . .
Plus, online education seems like a big winner out of this. “In the fall of 2012, the most recent semester with complete data in the U.S., four million undergraduates took at least one course online, out of sixteen million total, with growth up since then. Those numbers mean that more students now take a class online than attend a college with varsity football. More than twice as many now take a class online as live on campus.”
Given that many college students seem to belong at home with Mommy, this trend is likely to accelerate.